Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cooties in our Restaurants

Germs. We touch them. We inhale them. We swallow them. Over decades we continue to learn how to combat illnesses due to germs, and we even know how to avoid them. But there's always some new virus to rear it's ugly head and cause a stir. Germs will always be around.

I just watched a video on the findings of a microbiologist who said that lemons used in restaurant drinks have the potential of making you sick. She said that the sliced wedges that often adorn ice tea and other drinks carry anything from fecal bacteria to Staph infections. It's obvious that food handlers aren't washing their hands. But this isn't anything new. Cooties have always been around. The problem is that there are many new ugly contaminants in our progressive world, and they're killing us (2). There must be a way to avoid having the public become ill because of unsanitary food preparation due to negligence. Here's a simple solution: Wash your hands!

Fifteen years ago my son was in kindergarten. I’d volunteered one day as a teacher's assistant and observed something that disturbs me still this day. As much as I’ve always told my own kids to wash their hands before eating, it was a horror to watch a class full of 5 year olds being escorted from the dirty playground directly to the school cafeteria. Between runny noses, dirt, and shared toys, this was a hot spot for illness. No wonder kids are often sick. The simple solution was to have all of them wash their hands before eating.

There are hand sanitizers on the market that are more effective than soap and don’t require water. My local Trader Joe's and Cost Plus both keep Purell sanitizer bottles at the cash registers, aware of the high risks of germs while handling money. I applaud them. Restaurants, schools, and institutions that serve food should be the leaders in this approach rather than the losers affecting the populous. It's time that the FDA mandate the use of such products as well as advise that sinks be placed outside of employee restrooms. What better way to see good hygiene in action?

And once again, as smart and well advised as we believe we are, why hasn't this been implemented already?


Sylvia Outlaw said...

Hi Patricia,
I was very happy to hear from you. Thank-you for visiting, I shall bookmark your information too. You should be writing for Helium as well, your thoughts are great for their site. I love writing on Helium, it has helped me through a very difficult time, (the death of my husband in Dec.)
Sylvia (calviaart)

Antonia said...

On the other hand, getting exposed to germs that won't kill us is good for our immune systems, and sanitizers can promote mutations.