Eating out at a buffet can be a good value for your money as you can consume as much as you wish for one price. But eating at a buffet can be a food safety challenge, both for the food service establishment as well as you as a customer. The restaurant that serves a buffet follows speciﬁc guidelines of making sure all the food is kept within proper temperatures. Cold foods such as salad bar foods should be kept cool and in small serving quantities to be changed regularly. When changing the food, new bowls of the food are used rather than just adding fresh food to the same serving bowl that has some remaining food in it. If foods are hot, they are to be kept on a heating element or under a light that will keep them hot. Serving utensils should be provided for each food.
In all that a restaurant may do to keep foods safe for their customers, there are some responsibilities of the customer to help keep the food safe as well. How customers choose to serve themselves and handle themselves at the buffet line can help or hinder the safety of the food for themselves and other customers. Below are a few things to think about the next time you go through a buffet line.
- Number one is to wash your hands. After arriving at the restaurant, go into the bathroom and wash your hands. Your hands have probably come into contact with your face, hair, doorknobs and other places where they can pick up bacteria and germs that you don’t want to consume with your food. So wash well with warm water, soap and dry with a paper
- Use the serving utensil that is provided for each speciﬁc food item. Do not use one utensil to serve several food items. If one food item happens to be contaminated and others are not and you use the same spoon for serving, then that cross-contaminates them all.