BY: SATYA.B - JUNE 28, 2020
At a time when the numbers of coronavirus cases globally have gone past 8 million, countries across the world are trying to reopen their economies as they reel under the economic impact of the virus related closures and restrictions. Restaurants are among the most hit sectors in the world due to imposed restrictions and social distancing measures.
As restaurants prepare to reopen, here is a look at the top ranked germ ridden things to avoid in restaurants.
Rank of highest infection risks in a restaurant
Sometimes the most germs on a restaurant’s menu may literally be the menu.
Studies have shown that traces of E. coli and S. aureus (staph) can be found on menus, thanks to their being passed from hand to hand.
Plastic menus hold more germs than paper menus, especially if they get wet. Plastic can't absorb water, so it sits there until it evaporates, which gives bacteria plenty of time to grow.
#2 Touch Screens
These can make it faster and easier to order, but they also can make it faster and easier to pick up germs.
London Metropolitan University tested touch screens at several restaurants and found traces of E. faecalis and staph on some screens. Both of those can cause infections.
#3 Cafeteria Trays
Using a tray to carry your food from a buffet or salad bar doesn’t mean you’re germ-free. One study showed that cafeteria trays had an aerobic plate count -- the level of germs in a product -- of more than 200. That’s double the number of a tray that’s considered clean. It’s also higher than bathrooms and gym mats, which are cleaned more often.
Things like salt, pepper, ketchup, and mustard are meant to add flavor to your food, but they can also add germs. Items that are handled and passed like condiment bottles and salt shakers can be home to fecal bacteria like E. coli and coliform.
#5 Table Surfaces
The idea of germs being wiped out when your server wipes down your table before you sit down is good in theory. But it’s a theory that’s not quite true. Bacteria that can cause illness can be found on the very cloths used to clean tables in a food court. Unless soap or a disinfectant spray is being used each time, this makes it a convenient transport for bacteria and infections to spread.
How to avoid contact with most of these high risk items but still order from your favourite restaurants?
#1 Order using your own phone as the menu
This reduces the chance of touching the menu card or touchscreen that may have been come in contact with an infected person.
#2 Pick up or get it delivered
Self-pick up or delivery reduces the risk of getting in contact with table surfaces, seats, condiments, utensils and other items where infected people may have come in contact with. Electronic payment ensures that you don’t handle cash and change.
#3 Order hot food
Hot prepared food has a lower risk of bacterial and viral infections as compared to cold food. Try to avoid uncooked and cold items like salads from restaurants during the pandemic to lower the risk of infection.
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