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Examiner
  • Jerry Plantz: Take care when eating out

  • I’ve been meaning to write this column for months. Now a timely article by two reporters for ABC News has convinced me that now is the time.

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  • I’ve been meaning to write this column for months. Now a timely article by two reporters for ABC News has convinced me that now is the time.
    A lady friend and I eat out at least 75 times a year, and we have observed some troubling, unsanitary procedures by restaurant employees, most notably food handlers who bus the tables and use the same cloth to clean off tables as well as seats repeatedly. Many put the cloth in their pocket or over their shoulder as they move on to the next table. This is prevalent in many restaurants throughout greater Kansas City.
    The article by Elisabeth Leamy and Glenn Ruppel names the 10 germiest places in a restaurant. Number 10 are salad bar tongs followed by ketchup bottles, bathroom faucets, bathroom door knobs, rims of glasses, tables, salt and pepper shakers, lemon wedges, menus and – the No. 1 culprit – seats. They found that 70 percent of chair seats had bacteria on them, some 17 different kinds.
    I can see why.
    In Jackson County, the Environmental Health Division is responsible for implementing food code policies. Their staff of seven inspectors inspect some 1,004 restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores within the unincorporated area of Jackson County and cities such as Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit. Independence and Kansas City perform their own inspections.
    Mike Jackson, a supervisor with the Independence Health Department, reports that they have three full-time and two part time inspectors checking on 603 food facilities, of which there are 202 full service and fast food restaurants.
    Jackson County spokesperson Dan Ferguson says they have cited establishments for wiping-cloths issues.
    The state and municipal code concerning wiping cloths is clear. Cloths in use for wiping food spill shall be used for no other purpose. Cloths may be dry or wet. If wet they must be stored in a chemical sanitizer and be used for wiping spills from food-contact and nonfood-contact surfaces of equipment.
    A few tips: Never place your silverware on a bare table. Request an extra napkin so you can place the utensils on the spare napkin or on the plate. After reading the menu and placing your order, wash your hands and avoid touching the restroom door knob or carry a small hand-sanitizer.
    Bon appetit.
    I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.
    Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at jerryplantz@msn.com.
     
     
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