How sure can you be that a vegan or vegetarian menu item is a fully plant-based meal? Unfortunately, there is no way to know. A random survey by Food Network found that 15 percent of chefs admitted that some animal products likely exist in vegetarian plates
To make sure you are eating a plant-based meal, try asking the server about the ingredients. Another option is to special order a menu item without certain ingredients that may have inadvertently snuck in. Also, it’s best to frequent restaurants that specialize in vegan and vegetarian foods.
Think Twice About Ordering the Daily Special
Here’s a little-known fact most people have never heard of. Restaurants repurpose leftovers to enhance their daily menu. The ‘special du jour’ may incorporate the bad sellers of the previous day to cut down on waste. Extra bread might become croutons or bread pudding the next day.
Alternatively, surplus pasta from the night before can become pasta salad on the daily menu. Not all food is used for specials, to be sure. Eat This, Not That! estimates that U.S. restaurants waste 11.4 million tons of food each year. That’s a lot. Restaurants often donate excess food or simply dispose of it.
Should You Order a Medium Rare Burger?
Short answer: no. Never. Hamburgers should not be ordered medium-rare. Whereas steaks are fine to enjoy cooked rare, ground beef is totally different. Bacteria or germs can lurk anywhere inside ground meat, but on a steak, pathogens only exist on the surface, which is then seared at temperatures high enough to kill them.
Hamburger meat has come in contact with many surfaces on its way to the bun on your plate, so failing to cook the inside of the burger to an internal heat of 155 degrees F, which is considered medium, can lead to an unpleasant bout of food poisoning. Order your burger medium or medium-well.
Check Out the Restrooms Before Dining
One good rule of thumb suggests surveying the bathroom facility before deciding whether or not to get a table. If the restrooms are a mess, just imagine how the kitchen is.
If they don’t take care to keep the bathrooms clean, you can be sure they don’t prioritize other sanitary efforts.
E. Coli Can and Will Contaminate Flour
Raw dough, whether pizza dough or cookie dough, can be laced with E. coli, as well as Salmonella. In fact, in 2019 General Mills recalled 600,000 pounds of Gold Medal flour for E. coli contamination. A deadly strain of the bacteria was discovered in its Kansas City facility during random testing of samples.
Baking the dough at 160 degrees F or hotter is sufficient to kill the bacteria. It’s best to wash your hands before handling the dough and make sure prep surfaces are clean.