Enjoy Buffets Safely at Romantic Christmas

Enjoying buffets with family and friends at romantic Christmas can surely bring more festive fun. However, failing to observe food safety at buffets may lead to food poisoning incidents. Hence, we must follow the Five Keys to Food Safety when enjoying buffets.

First, choose. Choose a reliable and licensed restaurant with good hygienic condition. Check whether the restaurant staff maintain good hygiene practices. Do not choose foods with abnormal appearance or smell.

Many licensed restaurants have signed up to the Food Safety Charter 2009 and undertaken to promote and practise the Five Keys to Food Safety as well as to set a good example for the food trade to help build a food safe city. For details, please browse
http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/whatsnew/whatsnew_fstr/whatsnew_fstr_food_safety_charter_Signatory_List.html .

Second, clean. We should wash hands thoroughly with running water and liquid soap for 20 seconds before eating and after going to the toilets. Also, use clean bowls or plates in good condition to take foods each time.

Third, separate. We should use designated utensils as provided to take raw and cooked foods separately to avoid cross-contamination. In some restaurants, raw foods are displayed for cooking at the spot. Customers should observe whether chefs follow the key separate when handling foods to prevent raw food materials from contaminating cooked foods.

In addition, check whether foods are cooked thoroughly because pathogens can survive or grow in undercooked foods. When cooked meat and poultry such as turkey are cut, juices are clear and should not be pink. As for cooked eggs, yolks should be firm. If in doubt, ask the chefs to cook the food thoroughly.

Lastly, check whether foods are kept at safe temperature. To prevent the growth of bacteria, cooked hot dishes should be kept at above 60 oC when they are displayed . Cold dishes or foods to be eaten raw such as sashimi and salad should be kept at or below 4 oC . Do not eat cold dishes that are not cold enough, hot dishes that are not hot enough .

With a spread of fine foods, we should bear in mind that a balanced diet is the key to good health. When enjoying buffet, we should avoid overeating. Don't forget to choose more "3 Low 1 High" foods, i.e. foods lower in fats, sugars and salt but higher in fibre.