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March 7, 2013

How to prevent food-borne illnesses

(Continued)

In another Harris survey it was found that 27 percent of consumers don’t like it when restaurant workers use cloths to clean tables as opposed to single-use sanitary napkins, while 46 percent said it didn’t matter how tables were cleaned as long as they were cleaned properly.

Donna Duberg, who’s an expert on foodborne illnesses caused by restaurants and also an assistant professor at St. Louis University, agrees with the survey results and says waiters or busboys using reusable rags to clean tables should be the first sign that an establishment may not be paying attention to the necessary details when it comes to being clean and diminishing the risk of getting people sick.

“Public hygiene, specifically in areas where consumers eat, is top-of-mind with the American public and restaurant owners stand to lose a lot if they aren’t paying attention to what is important to their customers,” she said in a published interview.

“A simple change in practice, such as using single-use, nonwoven food service wipers to clean eating and cooking surfaces, can create a healthier work environment and a more positive consumer experience.”

Pay attention

Other experts say consumers should pay attention to a restaurant’s bathroom to determine how well it’s keeping the kitchen, tables and silverware cleaned. If a restroom happens to be messy and wet, it should definitely raise some concerns.

“There are restaurants where the washrooms are always clean; they always smell good and there is never water on the floor,” said Tom Bianco, the CEO of Centripetal Management, a restaurant consulting firm in Atlanta, Ga.

“If a restaurant takes that kind of pride in the hygiene of their washrooms, it is a good indication that they are going to take that kind of pride in the food and in the quality of the product," he said. 

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