Respectfully Yours: The buffet line
I went to an outdoor concert with my mother, three children and husband. There was an after-concert prix-fixe buffet. The children wanted seconds. Should one reuse a plate or get a new plate?
Dear Reader, Even though buffet meals are a fun way to enjoy a casual outing with friends and family, it does not give us carte blanche to behave with no consideration for other diners.
To avoid a food safety challenge for the food service establishment and its customers, there are a few things to think about the next time you go through a buffet line. When you go back for seconds, leave your plate behind and get a clean plate. The wait staff will clean your table as the meal progresses. They will clear the table, taking away used dishes and glasses.
Doing this prevents cross-contamination problems. In addition to swapping out dirty plates, be sure to take what you touch. For example, if you touch a bread roll, put it on your plate. Don’t change your mind and put it back.
Another way to prevent cross-contamination is to use the serving utensil that is provided for each specific food item. Do not use one utensil to serve several food items. If one food item happens to be contaminated and others are not and you use the same spoon for serving, then you cross-contaminate them all.
The same goes for beverages. If you need a refill, always use a fresh glass. Using common-sense guidelines ensures the buffet dining experience is not only fun, but safe.
Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn
Have a question? Email: email@example.com. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.
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