Restaurant Safety & Alienation

From the Associated Press: Researcher finds lax food safety in restaurants

A review of restaurant food safety practices found that a typical kitchen worker cross-contaminates food with potentially dangerous pathogens about once per hour.

Among the risky behaviors cited were workers using aprons and other garments to dry hands, as well as using the same utensils and surfaces to prepare both raw and cooked foods, according to a review by a North Carolina State University researcher.

Two points to make about this story. The first has to do with loss of control. One of the big themes in critiques of modern ways of eating is the way we’ve “lost touch” with — we are alienated from — where our food comes from. That alienation comes in many forms, but its simplest form lies in allowing your supper to be prepared by someone you don’t know — for example, by going to a restaurant. I’m not saying that move is either good or bad; I’m merely pointing out the simplicity of that initial move, one so easily taken for granted.

The second point has to do with industry response.

Joan McGlockton, a food policy representative for the National Restaurant Association, said that while the study is disconcerting, the association doesn’t feel it is representative of the entire restaurant industry.
“We apply strong emphasis on employee training in areas of food safety….”

Sure. Why believe actual research on the effectiveness of your training regime, when you can guess instead?

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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