Food Safety on the Go

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Researchers from Kansas State University viewed 100 cooking shows with popular chefs and found common unclean food preparation behaviors. (KFSN)

Researchers from Kansas state university viewed 100 cooking shows with popular chefs and found common unclean food preparation behaviors.

Twenty-three percent of the chefs licked their fingers while they were cooking and 20 percent touched dirty clothing or their hair and then touched food again. If this happens while cameras are rolling, imagine what could be going on when nobody's watching.

Here are some food safety on the go guidelines to follow so you can dine without worry.

As a restaurant owner, Sam Meiner knows all about food safety, but even he didn't think much about it when attending a bar-b-que event in his neighborhood.

"Somebody had a big piece of brisket and was digging into it with gloves on their hands and sweating on their food," Meiner said.

Meiner ate it anyway. But hours later while driving back home "I thought I was going to have an explosion. My stomach was going wild".

Meiner had food poisoning. According to the CDC, each year 48 million Americans get food poisoning, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Mostly it occurs outside the home. So what can you do to protect yourself? First check the outside of the restaurant for overflowing trash bins or opened back doors where flies or animals can enter the kitchen.

Also, "If you see something that's not right, A, don't eat it, and B, I would maybe let the host or hostess know, 'Hey the shrimps been out for five hours now, you might want to get rid of it,'" advised Joe Kivett, Author of The Food Safety Book.

Another thing to do is examine the cook and wait staff. Hair must be restrained and nails should be clean. Meiner follows these rules and more at his own restaurant and hopes other restaurants do, too.

"I found out it wasn't fun to have food poisoning," Meiner said.

While it varies by state, inspection reports for all food venues are available to the public. If you have any concerns about a restaurant or vendor, check with the health department in the county where you live or your state health department.

Kivett also said be careful of ice. If you are in an area where the water is contaminated, especially when travelling abroad, ask the waiter to hold the ice on your soft drink.
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