Eating Safely In The Streets

Marshalee Valentine

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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I never get tired of saying how important it is to be mindful of where and what you eat. You may have been noticing an increase in the amount of food trucks at parties and festivals. I therefore think it necessary to remind you about what to look for when purchasing food sold in public places.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying street food — it can be perfectly safe. As a matter of fact, the first thing I do when I go to an outdoor event is search for a food stall. However, there are things you need to look out for and be mindful of which will help to identify whether basic hygiene principles are being followed to serve consumers safe food.

Here are a few things you can observe while standing in the line or selecting your delicious item from the menu.

1. Firstly, if you are at a food truck, take a peep around to see if there is a public health certificate visible. It's that pink certificate which proves that the seller has met basic food hygiene principles for that facility.

2. Food service stalls/trucks need to pay close attention to workstation cleanliness and ensure that areas are kept organised. Observe to ensure that workstation is clean, with little to no evidence of unwiped spillages; that there is no food waste lying around in random areas; food waste/rubbish is in enclosed bins; and that utensils and food service containers are properly stored. Additionally, you should also look at the attendant; if their appearance is unhygienic, that may be an indication that some type of cross-contamination can occur.

3. If you order a drink, fruit or any ready-to-eat item and the server reaches into a freezer with meat or other raw food, walk away. Raw and cooked/ready-to-eat foods must be kept separately to avoid risks of cross-contamination.

4. Keeping in mind the optimal temperatures for cooking, it is important that you pay close attention to the temperature of the food you are being served. If you have any questions as to whether or not your food has been in the danger zone for too long or not cooked to the correct temperatures, then you probably should not purchase there.

5. Be careful when buying fresh produce for consumption. If you're purchasing whole fruit, ensure this is washed with potable water. Also, avoid buying cut fruits such as melon that have been lying out in the open for a while.

6. Never accept ice from a container that is dirty or used to store other food items, especially raw meat, as this can lead to cross-contamination.


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