food handling

Mar 23rd, 2006, 06:10 PM
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food handling

After reading the posting, about hand sanitizers (which I use since I believe that our hands transmit all kinds of disease, like colds), it made me wonder about last summer's experience in Germany and the previous year's experience in France. We often bought ice-crean and sandwiches from clerks that made the food and handled money. I've often understood that money is a great transmitter of disease and was warned not to touch my face after handling money. Even if not as germ laden as I suspect, it still is incredibly unappetizing. We tried to ignore the situation, or watch the food preparation before we bought sandwiches , but seldom found a place where there was a separate cashier to handle the money who did not touch the food. Anyone else notice this or bothered by it? Comments please.
annetti is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 07:16 PM
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Hi annetti, I can't recall one way or another. So if that has happened obviously it did not bother me. But understand your thinking as yes money is suppose to be real dirty.

The only thing I can remember is a friend of mine, who is a pharmacist in Italy, wears those very thin gloves when she handles any food in her kitchen that will not be cooked such as proscuitto, raw salad food etc.

LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 07:32 PM
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Thanks, LoveItaly. It's very strange to see so little care taken between handling money and preparing food, since everything looks so pristine and is so appetizingly displayed.For example, very few bakeries will use tongs or tissues to give you bread or a piece of pastry,but, will take your money, and then pick up a loaf of bread for the next customer. I know they are as well-versed in disease prevention as other places; I just can't figure out why there is not better monitoring of sandwich places and bakeries.
annetti is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 07:45 PM
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I know it's the rule in this city that the staff can't take your money and then proceed to handle food (e.g. make you a latte) without washing their hands first.
WillTravel is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 07:50 PM
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Willtravel: What city are you speaking about? And when you say "rule," do you mean expected practice or actual law? Thanks for your answer. Annetti
annetti is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 08:01 PM
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We have wondered about that too. We avoided buying pommes frites, ice cream cones or any finger food from those kinds of places in Europe. In some places we pointed out their unhygienic food handling and most of them understood when we refused to take what they contaminated. I am convinced that the hygiene standards in Europe is lower. Nowadays we always carry energy bars when we travel. I hope you didn't catch anything during your trip in Germany and France. Germs and molds are everywhere even in hotel beds and room keys. These days people travel from all over the world, you just don't know where the previous hotel guest came from. The worst part is knowing that we take those bugs and germs home to our beds. We also carry small pouches of hospital grade sanitizers on our trips but does anybody have ideas on how to sanitize the hotel beds and blankets?
todor is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 08:11 PM
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This may sound really weird but. . .

When I was growing up my mother said that a little dirt never hurt anyone. She also said that you build up tolerance by being exposed to things. So, no hand sanitizers for me (though yes, we certainly do wash our hands), and I really don't worry about how things are prepared. However, I went into this really dive bar in Barcelona once in the dead of summer and ordered a jamón sandwich and it said on the menu they had "piña natural" so I ordered some (fresh pineapple) for dessert. The guy used the jamón knife to cut up my pineapple. I didn't really care, but it struck me as odd. My friend freaked out, though, and called him on it and he said "well, hell, you eat "melón con jamón" (melon and prosciutto).

I guess that made it OK.
laclaire is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 08:51 PM
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La claire, with all due respect to your mother, it's hard to develop tolerance towards deadly bacteria or disabling virus. We have to suffer the disease first before we develop tolerance. It explains why restaurants in France are dropping chicken, ducks and foie gras from their menu as they are not selling since the bird flu has arrived in those countries.
todor is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 09:20 PM
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annetti, I hardly ever go on the South American Board but I did tonight and there is a thread by a poster asking about how not to get sick in Mexico. Lots of replies of course.

It was interesting and I thought of your thread here as our Fodorite KSWL (or is it KWSL?) posted. Her husband is a physician. And what she zeroed in on was how very unsanitary money is.
She gave more information than any of us really want to know including money has been found to have traces of feces.

I still can't remember whether food handlers in Italy also handle money or not. That is going to bug me now, LOL. But I have never had food poisoning in Italy.

I do feel like my hands are filthy after being on any kind of public transportation and imagine most of us feel that way. I did read an article a few years ago about a company that researched the germs on public chairs in restaurants, theaters, moviehouses, benches etc. Another disgusting report. The report said that people that wear shorts and sit in public chairs can pick up serious infections if they have even a slight cut on the back of their thighs.

I have read several reports lately that claim that children that are exposed to dirt and pets when they are little have a better imune system when they are adults than those that have not had the exposure to germs.

But like you I really don't want a food handler touching money and than preparing or handling the food I am going to eat. I am going to start paying better attention, LOL. Take care, and stay healthy!!

LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 09:40 PM
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People are gradually getting better about hygiene, although progress is glacially slow. I see more and more people wearing plastic gloves to handle food, whereas that was unknown in years past. However, many people still have no clue about the importance of hygiene.

Hygiene is somewhat more important when travelling because you're exposed to germs that you don't normally encounter. For example, you are probably immune to many strains of cold virus in your hometown (there are more than 100 different cold viruses), but the ones you encounter in Europe may be new and thus may cause you to come down with a cold. Good hygiene can reduce the chances of this.

The bright side is that most people have healthy immune systems that fight off a tremendous number of germs every day. Even so, that's not a reason to overload the system with extra work by not practicing proper hygiene.

The old idea of a little dirt not hurting you seems to be folk mythology. Try handling real germs and see how far you get without getting very ill. The strange thing is that things that seem clean may not be, and vice versa. Dirt doesn't necessarily contain a large number of really dangerous germs, but a pocketful of coins or that seemingly spotless handhold on the subway might be swarming with bad stuff. Some germs are pretty much guaranteed to make you sick if you come into contact with them; other germs will most likely be fought off by your body even if you're exposed to a wheelbarrow filled with them.

Fortunately, a lot of the most dangerous germs are either uncommon in developed countries or cause diseases for which vaccinations are available.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 10:45 PM
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I have always thought that the European custom of paying the cashier, getting a reciept, and only then telling the clerk what food items you want as you hand over the reciept, is specifically designed to prevent the server from handling the filthy money. The same thing in the vegetable stalls; you point to what you want, and the seller picks out the fruit and bags it. that way, a hundred dirty hands have not stroked each apple.

All very sanitary. Don't worry about it, or if you do never watch the chefs in a kitchen.

nukesafe is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 10:57 PM
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What a lot of nonsense those posts are ;-)
Try India for a change of mind. Or maybe some of the inexpensive (and more expensive) american motel chains. Sorry, but all this makes me laugh
logos999 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:06 PM
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Now I do understand, why high-brow people never eat an ice-creme-cone, but dispose it, when having finished the ice cream in it.

Even more ridiculous is, to have salespersons handle food and money and food again with latex gloves for reasons of cleanliness and sanitization.
hhildebrandt is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:08 PM
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well, there you have it...I have had pets all my life (my favs Bugsy, a pomeranian, and Lil Miss Daisy, my Yorkie, and I, all give a big HIGH FOUR
to sense and sensibility ( Daisy is from England, of course, she could not resist the reference) and I too, do not like the icky feeling after too much public transit, money handling, dusty, sticky feeling, and am the first to soap/water. Be clean folks, just not paranoid.
daisy58 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:16 PM
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That's it Daisy58! Be clean, not paranoid. Otherwise you would never get out of the house.
I was always told to wash hands after handling money, but if you're on holiday, it's difficult to observe the same standards you have at home. Not buying food from stands that seem unclean is sensible. And I prefer my icecream in a cup, not cone. And never from those machines that produce soft icecream.
Tulips is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:22 PM
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From my short stint in food service, I do know that, at least in my little town near Dallas, but I think it might be a state law, you aren't supposed to handle money and food without washing your hands before touching the food (if you watch carefully, though, some people will handle the money with one hand and the food with another, or will put a new glove on to touch the food). US sanitation laws obviously don't hold abroad, though. Just figure it's a free boost for your immune system.
grsing is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:46 PM
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Speaking of sanitation. I often buy breads, Italian, French, countrystyle etc. that supermarkets sell that come in paper bags not plastic bags like sliced bread does. The end of the bread sticks out of the bag. So that bread has been exposed to "everything" from the time it was baked, put in the bag, put on the deliver truck, brought into the store, touched by heaven knows how many people etc etc. But I am still alive! And the breads are so good. But I would imagine they have picked up some unsanitary stuff along their journey to my dining table.
LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 12:28 AM
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Annetti, I'm in Vancouver (Canada). I heard about this regulation from a TV segment I watched a few years ago.

I had a coworker who liked to visit a certain official Vancouver city web site to determine which of our favorite restaurants had recently gotten an official citation for their poor sanitation, or whatever other reason. One of my favorite cheap sushi places was cited. I stopped eating there for a while, but I decided the issue was minor enough so I could go back again, which I've done. After all, the restaurant wasn't closed down, unlike one of the sushi places near our workplace. I've also stopped visiting that web site.
WillTravel is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 12:42 AM
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WillTravel, you are on a roll tonight. I was laughing at your "I also stopped visiting the website" than noticed it was another of your post.
LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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I'm totally disappointed that there is no taker for my hotel bed disinfecting scary question. No one noticed it or bothered by it? Comments please.
todor is offline  

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