The Washington Times-Herald

Community News Network

March 5, 2013

How to prevent food-borne illnesses

According to the CDC, each year one in six Americans become sick from food-borne illnesses, 128,000 need to be hospitalized and 3,000 people lose their lives.

The government agency also says about 36 percent of documented outbreaks are because restaurants are handling food improperly.

A ways back, a national news show did a segment on the top-ten fast-food places that had the dirtiest locations, which were caused by cooks and cashiers handling food with bare or dirty hands or employees being sick and coughing or sneezing around food, and these were just some of the troubling things the news team found.

The top-ten fast-food places that had the dirtiest restaurants were, Burger King at No. 1, then Arby’s, Wendy’s, Hardees, Dairy Queen, Jack in the Box, Subway, KFC, McDonald’s and Taco Bell. You may want to do an extra eye check when going to these places to determine if everything is cleaned properly, namely the trays, tables, floors and the bathroom, and if you see something you should say something to one of the workers, experts say.

Speak up

And although many may assume that the average consumer would speak to a restaurant owner or manager when seeing a potential health violation, apparently the opposite is true.

According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive and released by Tork, a company which offers a host of cleaning products and services, 25 percent of consumers said they wouldn’t notify a restaurant worker if they noticed something was dirty or unkempt.

And out of the 75 percent of people in the U.S. who said they would complain, many of them admitted they would only be somewhat likely to speak up, and not definitely. This not only lets a restaurant off the hook for its uncleanliness, but it also forces other guests to encounter unsanitary conditions, which will probably continue unless the restaurant is held accountable.

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