Did you know that there are approximately 5.4 million cases of food poisoning a year, that 20 of these actually end in death and approximately 60% of these are caused by restaurants?
As soon as you realize this you’ll appreciate why you need to verify the hygiene at your local restaurant.
If you have any concerns regarding a local restaurant you can register the issue with your local state and territory food enforcement agency. They will process and investigate the matter for you.
But, do you know what signs to look for to confirm that your local restaurant is sanitary or not?
Look At The Floor
A restaurant can have all the right PPE and a great schedule for cleaning but, if it’s not done properly, it’s about as good as not doing it at all.
The first clue in many restaurants is to look at the floor. Sweeping and mopping will remove the main food traces but, if the edges of the floor still show the tell-tale signs of food waste and grime then you’re going to have to wonder how clean the restaurant really is.
All restaurants need to have toilets, the number they have depends on the number of customers the restaurant can accommodate.
It is common to find a cleaning schedule in the toilets, showing hen the area was last cleaned and when it should be done again. While it is difficult to keep any toilet spotless when it is being used by multiple customers, it is possible to verify the cleanliness by how long it has been since it was cleaned.
A dirty toilet area just 5 minutes after it is supposed to have been cleaned suggests poor sanitary standards.
In some restaurants, you can see the kitchen if this is the case take a look at the techniques the chefs are using and the utensils they have to hand. Everything should appear clean with separate areas for raw and cooked meat, as well as separate utensils. If this is not the case you should eat somewhere else and assume their sanitary standards are low.
Also, it’s good to look for food safety certifications as this is an indication that the restaurant has undergone the necessary food safety audits to meet the requirements to ensure that the food they prepare is safe. When it comes to food prep, no risk is worth taking.
Take a look at what the staff is wearing. They should take pride in their appearance and be clean. Staff with dirty aprons or other clothing, especially if they appear to be stained, are not concerned with the best sanitary standards and should make you at least look further, if not eat elsewhere.
It is important to note that there is a difference between food freshly dropped on clothes and clothes that are stained. The first is acceptable, the second is not.
Finally, it is worth looking at reviews for a particular restaurant. Social media sites are definitely your best starting point when doing this. You’ll find honest opinion regarding the food and whether people were ill or not.
This will give you a good indication of the hygiene levels in a specific establishment.
Remember, if in doubt it is better to eat somewhere else. Your health is too important to risk.