Food Safety 201

Having had a second visit to the doc recently re. my never-ending sore throat, I left with his final touching words “don’t worry, you’ll be back”. What he was referring to was bowel problems.

I was speaking to the owner and chef of one of the expat oriented bar/restaurants recently and he suddenly said “they will kill some one”. I replied “who?”.

He mentioned the main 2 supermarkets which are the central shopping points for the vast majority of the expat community. He specifically mentioned the well-known fact that most foreign foodstuffs were either approaching or past their use-by dates. He singled out the frozen foods as the worst culprits, citing use-by dates, the temperature of the freezers and the even nastier habit of thawing and re-freezing of these items. I also suspect a lot of the food lines have been market failures somewhere else and have been dumped. I also suspect production runs of sub-standard goods or labeling errors etc. to be amongst it all as well.

I must admit that I knew all this prior to arriving and was worried but you tend to forget about it after a while. Most of the expat bar/restaurants struggle to get staff to adopt basic food hygiene standards in food handling. You occassionally cross your fingers and eat out at a more local restaurant (usually run by Indonesians, Chinese, Indians, …)

You always hear stories about so-and-so is sick after eating at “…..” restaurant 2 days ago.

Lets not even mention those who have come down with malaria or dengue fever. A close acquaintance has been bed-ridden for 5 days now and dengue is suspected.

But the doctor was right, like everyone else, I’ll be back.