This festive season, a number of people will opt to eat in the different restaurants. However, you need to take caution about the place you will be eating from.
Dr Vincent Bakyenga, a general practitioner at Uganda Health Federation, says there many different types of food that can give you food poisoning where bacteria are either in the food or are transferred to the food during storage, preparation, cooking or serving. However, there are some basic measures you can take to minimise the risk of food poisoning when eating out.
If you doubt the safety of food, do not eat it. If you have serious concerns with the way food is handled, stored, prepared or cooked by a particular food business, it is prudent that you contact the local council in which the premises is located.
Dr Bakyenga warns that, food-poisoning bacteria can grow and multiply on some types of food more easily than others. These high-risk foods include raw and cooked meat, poultry; dairy products, eggs and egg products, salads and ready-to-eat foods, including sandwiches, rolls, and pizzas.
When choosing where to eat, ensure that the staff members are using separate utensils and equipment for handling raw and cooked food. Find out also if the raw and cooked foods are well separated.
“It is important for you to check if the shop or restaurant is generally clean. See if staff are using clean cloth to wipe surfaces and if the toilets are clean. Dirty conditions at the tables and serving centres of a shop or restaurant can bring suspicion that things may be worse in the kitchen or behind the scenes where customers cannot see,” he warns.
If you get to a buffet, takeaway or self-service restaurants, ensure the following;
• Hot food should be stored in hot food display cabinets. Avoid eating lukewarm food.
• Cold food should be displayed on ice or in refrigerated cabinets at 5 °C or less.
• Each food dish should have its own serving utensils.
•Food should be covered.
• Plates and cutlery must be clean and dry.