Tired of frequent bathroom trips? Keep blaming the last place you ate for your discomfort?
This blog post should ease your pressure.
As a Chef- Hospitality Consultant and Food Safety Instructor, I have taught food safety in China, Singapore and of course in Canada for many years. No matter which part of the world I was in, the side effects of food-poisoning are 90% avoidable if you have the knowledge and know what to look out for.
I could totally bore you to death with words such as Campylobacter, Salmonella (nothing to do with Nutella or salmon) E.Coli, Listeria, and Botulism, which are only some of the names of those nasty foodborne infections and illnesses.
Without further introduction, here are 6 pointers and tidbits for you:
1. Did you know that human beings are the largest carrier of bacteria?
If not kept in check, those nasty things quadruple every 20 minutes. Only NASA has calculators that can figure out how many trillions of them are on us!
2. Become OCD about handwashing!
Handwashing is the # 1 thing that can prevent and avoid spreading those little critters even more.
I admit I am OCD when it comes to washing my hands countless times a day because I know what is lurking on every surface in the world.
3. “Happy Birthday To You” is the tune you should sing to yourself when you lather your hands with soap and warm water vigorously.
Every time, after any bathroom use, every time after touching anything and everything that anyone has touched or handled before you.
4. Become totally obsessed with watching food handlers anywhere and how they behave.
Here is what I do when I visit any food establishment in the world.
The first thing I do is check the bathrooms.
Most Restaurateurs spend way too much money on their fancy business cards but pay no attention to the state of their washroom facilities.
To me, a bathroom is a restaurant’s business card.
5. Check out the cook’s attire. Is it clean? Does he or she give a damn of their personal appearance?
Are they constantly touching their hair their face, especially their nose? Are they cleaning their work surface with an old dilapidated rag, which by the way contaminates everything?
Are they using plastic gloves?
6. Plastic gloves should never be allowed in any kitchen in the world. Why? Because it gives kitchen staff a false sense of protection as most handlers think they can touch everything with gloves and never have to wash their hands again.
You know those hand sanitizers we carry around in our purses. They are not protecting you at all. Another myth and marketing ploy that does more harm than good, especially to your skin. Warm water and soap is your only savior!
5. In my travels all over the world, I have learned many things in the food business and nothing surprises or shocks me anymore, therefore I have” this thing ” about ordering my food. The first question I ask myself is:
How many people will be touching and preparing my food with their hands? What would their procedure be, in their secret little chambers of a possible horror kitchen?
Are they sneezing in their hands? Touching their uncovered hair? Spitting in my food? Smoking ? Handling money?
Are they diligent enough of keeping cold food cold and hot food hot? Have they left food out more than 2 hours without refrigeration?
Have I turned you off food establishments no matter where in the world?
If so, great!
Because awareness is everything. Stay tuned and watch out for my next blog post, which will show you what you can do at home to prevent foodborne illnesses as most of them start at home.
In the meantime sing… HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!