Buffet (noun) – a spread that spreads germs


As much I love the variety that buffets offer, I tend to get a little skeptical about how safe the food is for consumption. I know health inspectors check kitchen sanitation standards and make sure staff adhere to hygienic practices. However, there are no health inspectors to check on patrons.

I’m not a particularly neurotic person and infact I occasionally apply the 5-second rule. For those of you who don’t know, according this rule, food is not contaminated for the first 5 seconds that it falls on the ground. Realistically speaking I get that bacteria does not actually wait for 5 seconds, but I just want to point out that I don’t have an irrational fear of germs.

Earlier today I was a bit horrified to see a 5 year old stick his hands into a bowl of jelly at a buffet and squish up all the cubes.  Until he realised there were tongs. Then he stuck his jelly-covered hands all over the tongs. Needless to say I stuck to the dessert items that were too hard for him to reach. Not that that is a foolproof solution. There was an adult at the same buffet who felt the need to examine every single piece of flatbread with her hands before putting it right back on the tray.

While I’m aware the obvious solution is to prepare my own meals, I don’t suppose it would hurt for restaurants to take a lesson from museums and put up ‘Do not touch’ signs.