Afternoon from the BFM.Firstly I read below article and wanted to share it with you guys. Secondly I don’t want to put you off your food/drink. Please share the message!!!!!!!!!!
“Fancy a slice of lemon in your water? You won’t after reading this: From germ encrusted menus to what’s under the waiter’s nails, a top biologist on the hidden horrors in your restaurant
The prices on the menu are reassuringly expensive, the decor immaculate and the food delicious. But you can still go home with a nasty stomach bug.
There are a million cases of food poisoning each year in the UK – and 60 per cent happen away from the home.
A pricey menu is no defence against poor restaurant hygiene – as highlighted recently when London’s Chiltern Firehouse, frequented by the likes of David Cameron, Kate Moss and David Beckham, received a hygiene rating of two out of five.
Here, Dr Carl Edwards, a microbiologist at Nottingham University, reveals how to keep safe when eating out…
Say no to ice and a slice+4
No thanks: Around 70 per cent of lemons in restaurant drinks show signs of microbe growth
You may think there’s nothing more refreshing than a jug of water with ice and lemon. But beware – the contents are probably bacteria-ridden.
Around 70 per cent of lemons in restaurant drinks show signs of microbe growth, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Health earlier this year. The bugs include faecal bacteria and E.coli (which can cause serious food poisoning) and the yeast candida, which causes thrush.
This is because chefs don’t tend to use gloves for most kitchen activities, including cutting lemons. And lemons aren’t peeled or cooked, which kills off many bugs.
On top of that, the jugs may not be washed all day, despite being used by a lot of people – and stagnant water is a great incubator for bacteria and parasites.
The ice can be a hazard, too. Tests last year found that ice cubes from branches of McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, Cafe Rouge and Nando’s all had more bacteria in them than samples of water taken from the lavatory bowls.
This may be because there are rotas for the regular cleaning of toilets, while ice machines can be left for ages in between cleans, as most people assume they are too cold for germs to survive. In fact, ice preserves most organisms – including E.coli.
Choose bottled water or a clean jug with fresh tap water – with no lemon or ice.
Don’t trust a mucky menu
Peer carefully at the menu – not to see if you fancy the chicken dish but to find out if the menu itself is dirty. Quite often, it’ll have a plush cover with a velvety finish – which is extremely difficult to clean.
Cheaper vinyl covers and laminated menus are much easier to wipe down – and will show up the stains and grease spots if they haven’t been cleaned. If they’re sticky or tatty, be wary.
With paper and card, it’s even more straightforward. Take one look – if it’s soiled, consider leaving. After all, if the restaurant is dishing out dirty menus, what on earth is going on in the areas you can’t see?
Analyse your waiter
Is your waiter or waitress’s uniform clean? How about their hands? If they have a tea towel over one shoulder, is it spotless?
When it comes to jewellery, there are various guidelines for serving staff – a wedding band and very simple ear piercing are all that should be allowed. You wouldn’t want to see uncovered jewellery or lip and nose piercings, because these could fall into the food.
Nevermind service with a smile: Check your server’s uniform is clean and that their nails are short and not fake
If you see a little blue plaster over a ring or ear stud, that’s an indication the establishment takes hygiene seriously.
Serving staff with long hair should have it tied back so none of it can fall into your dish. Long nails are a no-no, too, as they’re impossible to keep clean.
A study found that nails longer than 3mm carry more germs under them than shorter nails. These commonly include klebsiella – which can cause pneumonia and urinary-tract infections – and candida parapsilosis, which can cause blood-stream infections.
If the nails are fake, they can easily fall into food. And if you see staff go into the toilets while wearing their apron, head for the door.
Think of all the bacteria from the loos that they’ll be taking back with them into the kitchen.
Scout the premises
If you can peer into the kitchen, all the better. You should see hand-washing facilities – at least one basin near the entrance and one near the exit – and they should be in regular use.
If the kitchen is hidden away, check out the toilets instead. If there’s no soap in the dispenser, what are the chances of there being soap for the staff?
Make sure there’s a hand-dryer or disposable towels. A normal towel is unacceptable – you have no idea what the last person smeared on it.
Check out tucked-away spots too, such as skirting boards and plug sockets. If they are clean, the management probably cares about the finer details of food hygiene. If not, beware.
Check the tabletop
A clean wooden surface or fresh disposable tablecloth are equally hygienic, as are cotton tablecloths that are replaced for each customer.
If the cloths are not being changed or look grubby, you should be worried. People wipe their hands on them – and not everyone washes their hands after the toilet. Also, condiments should never sit on tabletops for the whole day – it implies that they are not being cleaned between diners.
Salt and pepper shakers are usually filthier than mustard and ketchup bottles because they don’t get greasy, so are rarely cleaned. If they’re sticky, they’re a good indicator of the rest of the restaurant.
Cleaned between diners? Make sure table tops and condiments on your table are clean
Make sure it’s cooked
If you’re on a diet, you’ll know exactly which foods to steer clear of. But if you’re concerned about bacteria, you may not know which dishes are a no-no. Avoid uncooked or not-thoroughly-cooked fare, such as salads (including fruit salad) and sandwiches prepared on the premises.
And while I love a rare steak, if I had something wrong with my immune system, I wouldn’t eat it unless I’d prepared it myself – because the cooking time is not long enough to kill dangerous bacteria that may have been transferred to it by unwashed hands.
I also like crab and lobster but usually prepare and eat them at home. You don’t know what’s been done to them before they get to a restaurant, let alone your plate.
Fish can look fully cooked yet still not be cooked for long enough to kill all the bacteria in it. If it’s been cooked particularly badly or prepared long in advance, you’re putting yourself at risk – and there’s very little way of telling.
It comes down to a level of trust. If you’re really concerned, only go to restaurants that you know – or stay at home.
Ban the boards
There is a ghastly trend for serving dishes, especially burgers, on wooden chopping boards.
Although wood is naturally good at resisting germs (it has to protect itself from fungi and bacteria), you need to allow it to dry out for at least an hour after washing it to stop bacteria from multiplying.
In a busy restaurant with a high turnover of customers, this is very unlikely to happen.
There is no way to see if it’s properly dry, and you don’t know what’s happened to it before it reached your table. If it has been constantly damp, it will probably be loaded with germs. Ask for a plate instead.
Keep an eye on cash
In a takeaway outlet such as a sandwich shop, watch how the staff deal with the money. This is because cash is filthy and usually stored in warm wallets and pockets – perfect germ incubators.
In fact, a study this year found there are more germs on £1 coins than on toilet seats.
And as bank notes are passed from one grubby hand to another, they can be contaminated with the potentially harmful bacteria klebsiella and enterobacter.
All of this means there’s a huge issue if staff handle money without washing their hands or having used gloves while preparing your sandwich or other food.
Touching money with the gloves on is the worst of all possibilities. The gloves will be damp – so they’ll get even more dirt off the money than a bare hand would.”
So hope I haven’t put you all off your food!!!!
Once again the BFM shares the food love!!! Ciao down now!!!
You can follow me on
Please like my page, share and spread the food love to all your contacts