Food Poisoning: How to Protect Yourself While Eating Out

Food Poisoning

Attention: New medical research indicates a clear connection between food poisoning caused by Salmonella and IBD (Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn’s).

In August of 2009, the journal of “Gastroenterology” published a study by Dr. Kahng, which indicated that a large number of patients developed IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s) after being infected with Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria as a result of food poisoning.

Moreover, the onset of IBS (the Irritable Bowel Syndrome) has been linked to food poisoning caused by bacteria like Shigella and Salmonella.

For a healthy individual to acquire IBD and/or IBS as a result of a simple food poisoning is bad enough, but for a confirmed IBD/IBS patient such “simple food poisoning” could result in a violent flare-up of their condition.

Therefore, , I’ve developed for my patients 5 simple but effective rules that dramatically decrease potential of a food poisoning while eating out.


Rule #1. Inspect overall restaurant cleanliness.

When I go into a restaurant, I look at the dining area, tables and floor; then I peek into a restroom. If those areas are not clean, chances are the kitchen is not clean either. I did walk out of many restaurants just minutes after my arrival and short inspection.


Rule #2. Wash your hands before eating whether or not you’ve been to a public restroom (door knobs, your car, friendly hand shakes, etc. all can carry harmful bacteria).


Rule #3. Do NOT drink tap water or use ice in your drinks (ice is made from tap water).

Tap water is usually treated with chlorine to kill harmful organisms; however, tap water still can be infected with e-coli bacteria. Only boiling water for at least 1 minute will kill most of harmful bacteria. In a restaurants, however, I always order bottled water or hot (boiled) tea. My all time favorite is “San Pelligrino” – Italian sparking natural mineral water in a glass bottle. I avoid drinking water sold in plastic bottles due to leeching of harmful components from plastic into bottled water.

Order bottled water (preferable in a glass bottle) or hot tea.


Rule #4. Order foods that are prepared and served to you hot and well done.

Bacteria and even parasites can be present in raw meat, fish, poultry and eggs, and eating these infected foods can make you sick. These harmful organisms can only be killed as a result of foods being cooked at HIGH temperatures. The utensils (cutting boards, knifes) and bare, unclean human hands could be another source of harmful bacteria contamination.


I consider the following menu items being a “very high risk” of contamination during storing, preparing and serving.

Avoid the following high-risk dishes:


  • Sushi
  • Ahi Tuna
  • Carpaccio
  • Raw Fruit or Vegetable Salad
  • Cold Salads: Egg/Chicken/Ham/Seafood/Pasta
  • Raw Shellfish: Oysters, Mussels, Scallops
  • Undercooked Eggs (with runny egg-yolks

Rule #5.  Never send your dish back to the kitchen! It’s a simple human psychology, really. If you don’t like something about your dish just being served, just ask politely for another menu item while keeping on the table the dish that you have ordered originally. Sometimes, servers and cooks can get really offended and do something, say “not nice”, to your food just to unload their emotions (we are all humans, you know). You don’t want to be on the receiving end of it. So, always be extra nice to your servers and cooks.


Some facts:

Salmonella can occur in raw eggs, poultry and meat.

Campylobacter can occur in raw meat, poultry and shellfish.

Shigella can occur in contaminated drinking water or in food contaminated by infected kitchen staff who do not wash their hands with soap after using the restroom.

POOP Story. I wanted to share with you a true story that actually happened to my sister.  In the beginning of the year she decided to go on a special healthy diet: raw fruits, vegetables and good quality protein, cutting out the fats, diet sodas and fast food from her daily regimen.  Everything was going well until she decided to go to a new sushi take-out joint in the city. Well, she told me that the food tasted delicious but what happened right after the meal was anything but fun.  After the meal she went to a clothing boutique right next door to the restaurant.  This boutique had a large luxurious bathroom that was also used as a fitting room. Well, the urge to go hit my sister hard between trying on Prada dress and Gucci leather jacket. The next ½ hour or so she spent in the fitting room / “slash” / bathroom. She could not get out of the bathroom. “The healthy meal” of raw fish and rice was contaminated with harmful bacteria that gave her violent diarrhea. So, she pooped and pooped, and pooped. She was so embarrassed because other customers were waiting for so long to go into the bathroom/fitting room to try clothes on (even banging on the door). She finally got out of the bathroom/fitting room, and she assured me that the boutique did not have any sales for the remainder of the day, as no one dared to go into the “Stinky Room”.  It took her at least 3 days and some strong anti-bacterial herbs (my recipe) to recover from this food poisoning incident.

Conclusion:

When eating out just follow my 5 simple rules and remember:


Your food must be cooked at high temperatures until well-done,

or JUST FORGET ABOUT EATING IT!”

2 Responses to “Food Poisoning: How to Protect Yourself While Eating Out”

  1. Thank you Galina for the 5 simple rules. Your recommendations are easy to follow and are very helpful. I have enjoyed the “Poop” story as well. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!!!

  2. Good information. My son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease Feb/10 and 2 weeks ago had surgery after trying to control it with drugs and ended up with peritonitis. He’s talking about a possible food poisoning episode last Nov/09, when he started to get sick, and he will definitely be taking more precautions when eating out from now on. A friend of his was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis just over a year ago and is contributing it to food poisoning he got from eating out. His condition is very serious and he’s trying to avoid surgery. These boys are just 20 years old!

    Thanks for the article!

Leave a Reply

Top