Is the salad bar safe? What to know before eating out amid coronavirus concerns

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Friday, March 13, 2020
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The novel coronavirus is leading many to rethink the new "normal" and that may include if you should eat out and where.

The novel coronavirus is leading many to rethink the new "normal" and that may include if you should eat out and where.

In Las Vegas, MGM Resorts is temporarily closing buffets as a precaution.

"We have to take a great responsibility, serving safe food," said Donny Yoo, CEO of Premiere Food Safety, which helps train restaurant owners.

You may be faced with the question of whether or not it's safe to scoop up food at a salad bar or buffet. Soup Plantation published a message to customers stressing they follow rigorous daily sanitation, including hand sanitizer dispensers at the entrance, which will now have additional signage.

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"The hand sanitizers are an extra measure that they put in place. When hand washing is not readily available, hand sanitizer is a good option but it should a never be replacement for simple hand washing with hot running water," said Yoo.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer says wherever possible, it's best for employees to do the serving.

"In places where that's not possible, or it's not happening, we would urge the general public to take a lot of precautions," Ferrer said. "I think everybody should be cautious as much as possible. They should either be served food or make the food themselves."

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While much of the focus today is on the coronavirus, food safety precautions are always a good idea.

"Not focusing on one type of bacteria or virus because there's many ways food becomes contaminated," said Yoo.