Avoid Foodborne Illness While Traveling
November 2, 2011
By Guest Author

At this time of year, many travelers are worried about catching a cold or the flu, but this should not distract them from focusing on the primary traveler issue: avoiding foodborne illness.  Foodborne illnesses can strike at any time, putting your travel plans on hold and making you miserable. With a little precaution, you can avoid having your travel ruined by contaminated food.

Illness can result from improper food handling, resulting from contamination or poor hygiene on the part of the cook or server. In some cases, food that simply isn’t stored at appropriate temperatures can cause devastating gastrointestinal illness. As much as possible, make sure your food is prepared hygienically from properly preserved ingredients. For example, check your restaurant surroundings before deciding the cleanliness of the establishment. You should make sure that cooks and servers use gloves while preparing food. Furthermore, if possible, check to see that the facility has adequate food storage units so you can assure that your food is stored safely.

When eating buffet-style, it’s wise to be the first person to select your food from the tray as it is refilled. Buffets are often contaminated when diners sneeze, cough, or breathe onto the food. In addition, many buffets contain perishable dishes that aren’t maintained at proper temperatures. Eggs and dairy, especially, may not be safe for consumption if left at room temperature. When eating from buffets or a selection of dishes that have been sitting out, choose carefully and avoid foods that may spoil easily. If you are ever weary of a food’s quality, don’t hesitate to ask for another dish. You are, after all, the customer.

Finally, proper hygiene can prevent the transmission of several foodborne illnesses. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after meals, and avoid shaking hands or coming in close contact with others before eating. Finally, if coughing or sneezing, do so into your elbow and/or armpit area.

With a little know-how and conscientious eating, you can avoid having your travel ruined by foodborne illness.

Author: Elaine Hirsch
Elaine Hirsch is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. This makes it difficult to choose just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead.