Make sure the food you offer for sale is safe for the consumer
Prime the pump
June 6, 2023

Make sure the food you offer for sale is safe for the consumer

Dining out is not only convenient, we do it for entertainment, to support businesses, and it’s good for the economy but do we really know what we are eating, the conditions under which the food is prepared and whether businesses practice the standard recommended safety procedures.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, there are four steps to food safety and following these simple steps at home – clean, separate, cook and chill – can help protect you and your loved ones from food poisoning. In summary, CDC recommends Clean: wash your hands and surfaces often. Separate: Do not cross-contaminate. Cook: cook to right temperate and Chill: Refrigerate to the right temperate because “bacteria can multiply rapidly if left at room temperature or in the “Danger Zone” between 40°F and 140°F.”

No doubt we endeavour to follow recommended standard procedures in our homes to protect ourselves and families but what guarantee do we have that the businesses we patronize operate within our best interest.

A couple days ago while abroad, we visited a location of a renowned business. My daughter purchased one of their popular drink products. She was served in the standard disposable cup with a straw. However, at the rim of the cup was what appeared to be a red lipstick mouth print.

My daughter returned the drink to the server and pointed out that there was a mouth print on the container that didn’t belong to her. The server apologized, refunded her the cost of the drink and served her a fresh drink in a “clean” cup. Days later, and I still do not know what to make of that experience. How did that mouth print get there? What could this mean? Did a staff use the cup and stash it back? Are they in the habit of serving patrons in reused disposables?

Some months ago, someone referred to me as naive because I believed that there were still people who operate with ethical principles and wouldn’t cross certain boundaries for a bigger profit. Call me naive if you want but it is difficult for me to wrap my head around the thought of a multibillion-dollar company serving patrons in reused disposable cups.

It is quite worrying, the stories and experiences from restaurants and other food vendors. A couple months ago, there was a video making its rounds on social media where man from a Caribbean country was alleging that he found a cockroach in food he purchased from a popular place in that country. A few months prior, a colleague of mine alleged that she found a cockroach in her lunch from a food vendor. I even used to patronize that vendor before that incident occurred.

Food handlers have an obligation to us to follow recommended standard operating procedures. When we patronize their businesses we are saying, “We trust that you are operating in our best interest.”

In an article by the Australian Institute of Food Safety, titled “What are the responsibilities of a food handler?” it said “Any individual who handles food as part of their position has multiple responsibilities. “Food that has been incorrectly handled carries with it a higher risk of contamination, which has the ability to cause serious illness and in some cases even death.

“Whether preparing food that will be sold or given away, food handlers should be able to do everything possible to ensure that the food does not make anyone sick.

“Consumers have a right to feel safe eating food when they go out and making it compulsory for food handlers to be trained, is one way to achieve this.”

Personally, I believe that things would have been a lot better if people were more expressive.

People think nice is not complaining. They think nice is paying for a meal that they couldn’t eat because the meat was half cooked or there were foreign particulars in it and muttering under their breath. On the other hand, I think nice is politely saying, this is not good enough and I am bringing it to your attention so you can fix it. Most people would just not come back. The struggle is real, let us help to raise the standards by holding people more accountable.


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