Precautions To Take When Eating Out To Avoid Food Poisoning

Time to start practicing vigilant and mindful eating!


When was the last time you got sick after eating out? We’re pretty sure not too far ago and the recent food poisoning case that occurred at Arizona Grill is a stark reminder of why you need to be extremely careful and wary of where and what you eat out. First, let’s look into what really happened and what maybe the reasons of this mishap.

Unfortunate Mishap in Karachi

Two minors died of food poisoning yesterday afternoon while their mother was under treatment at a local hospital in Karachi according to concerned authorities. The deceased children were identified as one-and-a-half-year-old Ahmed and five-year-old Muhammad.

They reportedly had dinner at a famous restaurant at Zamzama (hint: the place is known for its steaks) and later they had some sweets from a shop in a famous amusement place in DHA . As per the authorities, both the spots have been sealed for forensic investigations.

According to SSP South, the mother is out of danger.

Meanwhile, a team of Sindh Food Authority has visited the restaurant to collect food samples.

Speaking to the media persons, Additional IG Dr.Amir Shaikh said that food poison affected the body within four hours of its consuming.

It is important to mention here that the investigation team has collected samples of vomit from the dustbin, clothes of children and blood samples as well to identify the root cause of the death. According to the Chief Minister’s spokesman, the eatery had also been earlier served with the notice pertaining to improving the hygienic conditions but the orders gone vain as the hotel management failed to comply.

Related Article : 10 Ways To Avoid Food Poisoning

As of now, the food authority has sealed the restaurant and further investigations are being made to get to the root cause of this incident. The restaurant on the other hand claims it has been cleared of any wrong-doing. Both the spots have been sealed by the food authority and no definite reason has been given for the incident yet.

What You Need To Watch Out For When Eating Out:

While it is every restaurant’s responsibility to serve you safe and hygienic food, there is a lack of check/balance in Pakistan. It is imperative that you take basic safety measures that can minimise the risk of food poisoning when eating out.

Foods That Can Actually Make You Sick:

Many distinct types of food can end up making you sick. You must know that food that contains dangerous bacteria or viruses may not necessarily look, smell or taste any different from food that is safe. Food-poisoning  causing bacteria are either in the food to begin with or are transferred to the food during storage, preparation, cooking or serving.

What Are The High-Risk Foods?

Food poisoning bacteria can grow and multiply on particular types of food more than others. These high-risk foods include:

  • Raw and cooked meat, including poultry such as chicken and turkey, and foods containing casseroles, curries and lasagne
  • Dairy foods such as custard and dairy-based desserts like custard tarts, cheese cakes and yogurt based stuff.
  • Eggs and egg dishes, such as mousse
  • Sea foods such as seafood salads, patties, fish, stews containing seafood and fish stock
  • Cooked rice and pasta
  • All day menus with salads containing coleslaws, pasta salads, rice salads and fruit salads
  • ready-to-eat foods, including sandwiches, rolls, and pizzas that may contain dairy content such as cheese and milk

Related Article : Food Poisoning: Basic Guidelines For Pakistan

When eating out, you must pay special attention to how these high-risk foods are being prepared, cooked, stored and served in eateries. Vigilance is key here, so always keep your eyes out for potential hazards.

Factors To Consider When Deciding To Eat Out

When you are deciding where to eat or buy takeaway food, think about whether:

  • Staff members are using separate utensils and equipment for handling raw and cooked foods, for example, when preparing sandwiches or making salads
  • Staff members are using clean cloth to wipe surfaces repeatedly
  • The toilets are clean

Dirty conditions in the public areas of a shop or restaurant can be a clue hinting that things may be worse in the kitchen or behind the scenes where customers don’t have access to.

Hints for When You’re Buying Food From Outside:

When buying food, beware of the following things:

  • Hot food should be served steaming hot (60 °C and above). Try not to have luke warm food.
  • Cold food should be displayed on ice or in a refrigerated setup and should feel cold when you eat it (5 °C or less)
  • Pre-made sandwiches and rolls that contain perishable ingredients, such as meat, fish, chicken, egg and cheese, should be stored in a refrigerator or kept at room temperature for less than four hours or else it may have gone bad
  • Avoid buying ‘tired-looking’ foods that look like they have been sitting at room temperature for a long time.
  • Minced meat, rolled or stuffed roasts and chicken must be cooked right through – the colour of the meat should not be pink. Do not eat under-cooked meats. Return them for further cooking
  • Steak, chops and whole cuts of red meat can be cooked to your preference as contaminants and bacteria are present on the surface of the meat and can be killed during the cooking process
  • Takeaway food should be served in proper takeaway containers and at an appropriate temperature

When Going For Buffets Or Self-Service Restaurants 

Make sure you watch out for these things when going to a self-service or buffet restaurant:
  • Foods that are eaten hot are stored in hot food display cabinets or over burners at 60 °C and above
  • Cold food is displayed on ice or in refrigerators at 5 °C or less
  • Every food dish has its own serving utensils
  • Fresh foods such as fruits and veggies are replenished regularly
  • Foods are covered by a guard or cover
  • Plates and cutlery are clean and dry

It is also our responsibility to point out when we find certain red flags at eateries including how the food is being handled and how hygienic the staff is when serving food and generally in their appearance. Now is the time to be more vigilant and mindful of what we’re eating and the environment encompassing it.

Related Article : Why You should Try Frozen Food for a Change?

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