What you don’t know about fast-food restaurants

To the Editor:

With the alarm of disease and viruses, are we also being aware of the cleanliness in our fast-food restaurants?

People always talk about the negative effects of fast food based on nutrition, but have you ever thought about the lack of sanitation practiced by these restaurant employees?

Because of the convenience of this “fast” food, most of us do not stop and look at the obvious conditions of the restaurant itself. Just the handling of money alone is an immense issue. Ethically, employees must change gloves when handling food, and wash their hands after handling money, yet many of the workers fail to practice these simple tasks. The passing of money alone carries enough bacteria person to person just by touch.

According to New York University’s study called the Dirty Money Project, one dollar bill carries more than 3,000 different microbes. When tested, researchers found bacteria from others’ mouths, skin and other unidentifiable places.

The bacteria on this money spreads diseases just through touch, so imagine this bacteria ending up on the food that is then ingested. Many people fail to realize the effects.

The state of the kitchen is an additional problem. When at a fast food counter, if you look, how many times are the floors and counters of the open kitchens actually clean?

The food accidentally dropped that is not picked up attracting mice, or the germs of a sick employee not using gloves as advised, easily spreading disease.

The sanitation scores are supposed to be posted on each restaurant in a very public place.

The restaurants are scored when inspected either as green, yellow, or red. Green meaning no violations, yellow meaning a violation was identified, and red meaning there is an imminent health hazard.

You have the right to ask the person waiting on you for the sanitation scores. You can also ask to please stop and change their gloves to touch your food and to question the employees about the sanitation they must practice.

Presently in New Hampshire, we are not posting these scores due to an antiquated data system. Therefore, the fast food industry presents opportunity for poor sanitation practices to get out of control without the public’s knowledge.

Although the poor nutrition of the fast food is an issue, most know of the lack of nutrition involved in fast food but do not even think about the health hazards.

Sanitation is an issue that many people do not think about when going through the drive-thru or even going to a sit-down fast-food place.

Being aware of the cleanliness of the restaurants you are eating at is important. Are you being your own safe health advocate?

Kaitlin Howard