4. Be Observant When Eating Out

Jeff, a healthy and energetic 38-year-old man, took his family out to eat at a restaurant near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. A month later, Jeff died of acute liver failure. The culprit? Green onions in his meal​—contaminated with hepatitis A.

ALMOST half of all money spent on food in one Western land is spent in restaurants. Yet, in that same land, restaurant food is associated with about half the foodborne disease outbreaks.

True, if you choose to eat at a restaurant, someone else purchases the ingredients, cleans the kitchen, and cooks the food. Nevertheless, you can decide where you eat, what you eat, and how you pack any food that you take home.

Look around you.

“As we walk into a restaurant for the first time,” says Daiane, who lives in Brazil, “I look around to see if the tables, tablecloths, utensils, and servers are clean and tidy. If not, we leave and look for another restaurant.” In some lands, health officials routinely inspect and grade restaurants for cleanliness, and they post their results for the public to read.

Beware of doggie bags.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises: “If you won’t be arriving home within two hours of being served [sooner if temperatures are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32°C)], don’t take the leftovers home with you.” If you have leftovers, go directly home after your meal and store them in the refrigerator.

If you take the four steps outlined in this series of articles, you can make your food safer.

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TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN: “We teach our children to avoid food that might be unsafe to eat.”​—Noemi, Philippines