How to Prevent Food Poisoning When Dining Out (And Other Survival Tips)

food poisoning, Dr. OzAbout one in six Americans get sick from food poisoning every year—most of the time the result from eating out. And although dining at a fast food joint or even at a fancy restaurant may seem enjoyable to most, sometimes the food might be adversely affecting your health! On Thursday, Dr. Oz suggested to his 3.81 million Twitter followers that they follow a survival guide of sorts the next time they eat out:

In his ‘Survival Guide to Dining Out’ Oz suggests to:

  • Avoid ordering raw fruits and veggies at restaurants: If the produce isn’t washed thoroughly, or is served at room temperature, there is bound to be bacteria lingering in it.
  • Avoid ordering ‘The Special’: Since many people opt for the signature meal, large batches of it may be prepared at once. This means the food has likely been sitting around for a while, which creates a perfect environment for bacteria to breed. Order something other than the signature dish and you’ll have a higher chance of your food being prepared fresh and on the spot.
  • Eat during busy hours: Try dining at fast food joints during busy hours to ensure the staff will continuously prepare new food to keep up with customer demand—this is a good way to make sure your food is fresh! Peak hours are typically between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tips to Preventing Food Poisoning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided some further helpful tips on how to prevent food poisoning when dining out:

  1. Verify restaurant inspection scores before eating out: Restaurant health inspection scores are typically available online. So if you have any concerns, or if you’re about to check out a new restaurant, look up the score before heading out.
  2. Check if the restaurant is clean: A clean restaurant is a happy (safe and sanitary) restaurant. Make sure that the floors, tables, glasses and utensils are clean. If you receive food or beverages that are dirty (i.e. lipstick stains on the glass)—find another place to eat.
  3. Make sure your food is thoroughly cooked: Meat, poultry or fish should be thoroughly cooked in order to kill germs. If your food is undercooked, don’t be afraid to send it back.
  4. Show your leftovers some love: If you’re grabbing some food to go, make sure to place it in the fridge within one to two hours (max) of eating out. Eat leftovers within three days. If it smells bad, toss it.

Sources for Today’s Article:

Dr. Mehmet Oz Twitter. 8:05 a.m. – 14 Apr 2016.
https://twitter.com/DrOz/status/720628957599633408.

“Four Tips to Prevent Food Poisoning,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site; http://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dfwed/pdfs/protect-yourself-when-eating-out-508c.pdf, last accessed April 15, 2016.