Buffets do not always follow food safety guidelines – nor do some traditional restaurants.
Enjoying a variety of dishes at a restaurant buffet can be exciting, in a number of ways. Not all of the food found on these buffets has been prepared according to food safety guidelines. Raw foods, in particular, may be susceptible to contamination when left on a buffet line for too long.
Buffet Food Safety’s Most Common Food Problems
Buffet foods that could be contaminated by salmonella, e.coli, or listeria because of poor food safety handling procedures, include:
Sprouts: The very humid and dark conditions that sprouts require to grow are also ideal for foodborne bacteria. Jimmy John’s discovered this recently, as they had to stop serving sprouts on their sandwiches after an outbreak of illness among their customers. Raw sprouts have more potential for contamination, as they must be cooked thoroughly to get rid of bacteria.
Anything involving eggs: Salad dressings such as those made for Caesar’s Salads contain eggs that have only been slightly cooked. Homemade ice cream is usually made with uncooked eggs. Quiches and souffles contain eggs that require proper handling to prevent food poisoning. Eggs that are not sufficiently cooked could be contaminated with salmonella.
Anything uncooked: Sushi and other uncooked fish that is not kept at a proper temperature can become contaminated. Other uncooked food that is not handled or stored properly is susceptible to bacteria.
In general, buffet food must be stored, handled, and cooked properly to avoid contamination, so consumers should be aware of the restaurant’s food safety records.
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