How safe are restaurants really?

The story plastered all over the front page of my local newspaper today is about food safety — more specifically, how 48 restaurants in my city have failed standard inspections. After checking the list, I was relieved to find that none of my regular eating spots made the list, but the article nonetheless scared me. I just spent the long weekend in the kitchen with a close friend who runs a cafe, and while she is an amazingly clean and diligent restaurateur, I can see how easy it would be to be for someone lazy or indifferent to let cleaning duties fall behind, putting patrons in danger.

This made me start thinking about eating in restaurants and what we can do to protect ourselves. I personally eat out probably twice a week for lunch and twice a week for dinner — four meals per week means four chances to get sick because of someone else’s mistakes. Food safety organizations seem to be looking out for us, but are they doing enough? Are we putting too much trust in other people to watch what we eat? Or am I just being paranoid?

What do you think?

Author by Martha Edwards