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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Your Safety at the Restaurant

How do you currently tell if food from a food service outlet (a restaurant, deli shop or canteen, etc.) is safe for you? About 11 months ago, I posted a question to the GCSE-Food & Health Protection group on LinkedIn to get some input about the pros and cons of a Food Hygiene Rating Scheme like the one proposed by Food Standards Agency in the UK.

A system that allows us to immediately assess the food hygiene rating of food establishments such as restaurants, canteens, deli shops, grocery outlets, etc. is a good idea. I invite you to share your thoughts on the merits (or demerits) of such schemes. How would you advise policy makers, food establishments and consumers on the use of such schemes?

To further examine this matter, here is a hypothetical but not unlikely situation that could occur where two individuals visit a “high end” restaurant. One could end up with a slight stomach upset and the other could die due to food poisoning. With respect to actual preventive measures and apart from their individual susceptibility, what differentiates the one who only ends up with stomach upset from the one who dies? In your consideration, you could think of the measures that the restaurant and the individuals must take to avoid either fate. Additional tip: What could have been the likely outcome if the cause of illness or death were to be prevented from being present in the food or removed from it during processing and not introduced at the point of consumption?

Caution, the following may be disturbing for some to view or read:

 Is MSG in restaurant food harming you? - Dr. Manny Alvarez: Once a month, I try to enjoy a high-end meal at a fancy restaurant . . . But no matter how hard I try eat healthy and clean, I always end up sick.”

Published September 26, 2013 - Danielle Tcholakian: Classaction lawsuit filed against New Hawaii Sea Restaurant


Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & HealthProtection. He is also the Director of Technical Services at Amiri Food Industry Support Services (AFISS) and the Canada/U.S representative for the World Food Safety Organisation.

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