Avoid eating at buffets, whenever possible. If not, choose foods which are cooked immediately in front of you.If you have a choice, opt for restaurants with a la carte menus to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses.
Buffets are risky for pregnant women as they are more prone to food-borne illnesses. Foods kept at non-optimal temperatures for too long cause bacteria to multiply. This can cause vomiting and diarrhea, both of which may affect the baby’s health as well as the mother’s. In addition to that, the many people handling the utensils at buffets as well as the coughing over the food make up an important risk of food contamination.
If you have no other choice but to eat at a buffet, here are some precautions which may reduce the chance of becoming ill while on holiday:
1- Eat at the beginning of the meal time. This reduces the risk of food being kept at unsafe temperatures for too long.
2- Choose dishes which seem fresh or have just been brought to the buffet.
3- The safest foods are either very hot or kept on ice.
4- In certain cases, dishes can be cooked on the spot in front of you. For example: pieces of meat, sautés or pastas can be made on demand on a hot plate. Such foods are not prepared in advance which reduces the risk of contamination. In any case, verify that raw meat is kept in containers to keep it fresh, or on ice, before being cooked.
Pregnant women should also inform themselves on the safety of the water they drink. In certain countries, tap water should not be used even for tooth brushing! In these cases, only bottled water should be used, including for making ice cubes.