10 Guidelines for Restaurant and Take-Out Safety
On any given night, especially on weekend nights, the restaurant crowd is out in full force. Warm weather is an excuse to sit outside under an awning and enjoy good food, music, and good conversation with friends or with your husband or wife. Eating out is relaxing and fun and taking home some extra grub doesn't hurt, but you want to make sure your extra grub you take home won't make you sick or make your child sick, because you know when you bring home extra food the kids are right there waiting. Let's take a look at some guidelines to follow while in a restaurant and for your to-go box. Food safety should be in the back of your mind.
The first thing I do when I go out to eat is look for the eatery's food rating which should be posted for patrons to see. I look for a food inspection rating of an "A."
- Throw food away if you have left it out for more than two hours. YIKES! Really? Yes, really. If you don't keep food at the correct temperature germs that make food go bad can grow and multiply. Keep food in the refrigerator, freezer, or the stove / oven.
- Keep foods that are hot in the stove / oven at 145 degrees Fahrenheit or at 63 degrees Celsius or higher.
- Cold foods are to be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or at 4 degrees Celsius or lower in the refrigerator or freezer.
- If you have purchased hot cooked food, eat it within two hours or keep it heating in the stove / oven at 165 degrees Fahrenheit or at 74 degrees Celsius or higher. This will prevent germs from growing.
- Eat cold food within two hours of bring it home or put it in the refrigerator or freezer.
- When reheating your take-out food make sure it is heated until it is hot and steaming; again, at least to 165 degrees Fahrenheit or to 74 degrees Celsius.
- Bring all gravies to a boil.
- Cover your food when reheating it in a microwave and stir it so it will cook evenly. Stop microwave to rotate your dish once or twice by hand thus eliminating cold spots where germs live and can make you sick.
- When ordering your food, order it fully cooked, especially eggs, meat, poultry, and fish. Fully cooking food is what kills germs - cooking is a "kill" step. Your food needs to be hot, and if it is not, send it back.
- Avoid eating eggs that are raw and not cooked fully. These types of eggs can be camouflaged in Caesar salads, some sauces, and custards.