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A food safety expert explains which foods should not be ordered at a restaurant.


Alina Prikhodko

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Dr. Darin Detwiler, former Food Safety Advisor to the FDA for sanitary supervision of food and drug quality ) and the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) never orders takeout. He doesn't eat fish on Monday and always watches his handmi bartender. According to Daily Mail, this is due to the fact that food is a potential source of disease. Detwiler advises being more careful about what we consume.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that about 128 people are hospitalized and 000 die. Bacterial, parasitic and viral infections occur due to food contamination with salmonella, toxoplasmosis, listeria, E. coli, and norovirus. The most common of the noroviruses is the one that affects one in 3000 people per year and is spreading rapidly across the northeastern United States.

At the end of the workday, instead of cooking for themselves, people often order food from delivery apps. Dr. Detwiler says this increases the risk of contracting foodborne illnesses. The longer food waits to be delivered to you, the less time it spends at the correct temperature, leaving it vulnerable to bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli.

The FDA warns that if food temperatures are raised, bacteria will multiply rapidly. This is especially dangerous for raw foods such as sushi and some types of shellfish. By the way, Dr. Detwiler avoids any take-out food.

Photo: INC.

Not oysters

Dr. Detwiler noted that when oysters are shipped across the country, they are tagged with the location where they were harvested. This tag is supposed to be kept in case of an outbreak, but many restaurants do not keep it.

There are restaurants that serve an oyster plate with, say, eight different oysters. Great, but it's actually like Russian Roulette. Dr. Detwiler noted that oysters pose risks if served raw and are difficult to properly shuck. “This is the riskiest food,” he said.

On the subject: Poisoning, nausea and even death: 5 dangerous foods in the world

One of the main problems associated with oysters is contamination with Vibrio bacteria, which live in water bodies near the coast. WebMD estimates that approximately 80% of infestations occur between May and October, when the water is warmer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 52 Americans become ill with vibriosis every year after eating contaminated foods. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, rapid heartbeat, confusion, dizziness, fainting and weakness.

(Not) fish day

If you're going to order fish, don't do it on Monday because many fish markets are closed on weekends, so restaurant fish sits in the refrigerator or freezer for several days. Stale fish undergoes chemical changes that affect its taste, smell and safety.

Spoiled fish may contain high levels of histamine, a chemical released by the immune system. When too much of it accumulates, it ends in food poisoning. It causes allergic reactions such as rash, diarrhea, sweating, headache and vomiting.

Photo: Orton

Eggs Benedict

This dish, which many people order at restaurants for breakfast, contains hollandaise sauce, which may be contaminated.

“Salmonella is a major pathogen of concern when making hollandaise sauce due to the use of raw or undercooked eggs,” says Dr. Detwiler.

Salmonella bacteria are transmitted in the feces of people or animals, and symptoms of the infection usually appear between six hours and six days after exposure. They usually disappear within another four to seven days without requiring medical intervention.

Dr. Detwiler noted that symptoms of salmonella infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within 12 to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. However, some people have no symptoms at all. More than 1,3 million people are infected with salmonella each year, resulting in 26 hospitalizations and 500 deaths per year.

Watch out for the bartender

Obviously, you should always pay attention to what the bartender puts in your drink. However, Dr. Detwiler pays more attention to how the drink is prepared.

“I won't go to a bar if I see the bartender using a glass to scoop ice,” he noted. “This is a big minus.”

One problem is that if the glass is dirty, clean ice can carry E. coli and salmonella. However, Dr. Detwiler's main concern is the risk that the glass could break and mix with the ice.

“How easy is it to tell the difference between broken glass and ice? They look the same, right?” – he specified.

According to the New York State Department of Health, “ice for consumption must be dispensed by scoops, tongs or other devices, or by automatic self-serve equipment.”


Avoid cantaloupe and other cut fruits

Dr. Detwiler warns that if you decide to enjoy fruit after dinner, make sure there are no cantaloupes on your plate. It should be eaten immediately after cutting.

“Never eat pre-cut fruit,” he advises.

This is because the fruits can be exposed to pathogens from the soil, animals or water as they grow close to the ground. The outside of the cantaloupe has a mesh surface to which germs can easily attach.

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