Did you know, food poisoning could be covered by personal accident insurance?
Wikipedia defined Singaporean cuisine as a unifying cultural thread. Here's Lifepedia's take on the national pastime
As the old Singaporean joke goes, hawker food tastes better as it gets dirtier - those germs are “extra flavour”.
But we can joke like that because our health and environment agencies are zealous – so skilled at their job – that sometimes we forget how serious food poisoning can be.
This article is both a reminder of how food poisoning is the absolute worst, and that you really want proper protection from it:
Your kitchen is pristine - but what about when you go out?
In Singapore, eating out is basically the national pastime. And while our own kitchens may be shiny and clean, we tend to forget others may not be. We assume all those eateries are scared of fines and the authorities; but even in strict Singapore, serious food poisoning can happen.
Take, for instance, the two times a parasitic worm was found in a supermarket food bowl. Japanese cuisine tends to involve raw fish; and while it’s a favourite among Singaporeans, there’s no way to perfectly detect and remove parasites all the time - that’s why health authorities advise against raw fish for the immunocompromised.
It’s not just linked to Japanese food either - way back in 2016, authorities had to stop the sale of raw fish dishes in hawker centres. So let’s not assume that food poisoning won’t happen, whether we’re eating from a shiny multi-national supermarket, or a trusted local hangout.
There are also cases where you won’t be alone in the food poisoning (but you won’t feel better for it). Just last year in 2021, a famous wanton mee outlet caused 68 people to get sick from food poisoning; and back in 2018, another famous eatery caused 63 people to fall ill and led to one death.
So unless you intend to be a hermit and never eat out, you should never take the possibility of food poisoning for granted. It rarely happens in Singapore, but rarely doesn’t mean never.
What’s the best thing you can do?
It boils down to:
● Being observant where you eat. If you see stuff like the same dirty rag being used for plates and tables alike, leave!
● Check out the hygiene rating of the eatery. You’ll probably want to stick to the A’s and B’s if you want to be safe (especially if you’re pregnant, have a weaker immune system, or suffer from other conditions that make you more vulnerable).
● Cooked food is generally safer, but make sure it’s freshly cooked (i.e., not the leftover prata from yesterday evening, at the 24-hour coffee shop at 2 am!)
● Try not to over-order and bring home leftovers. Leftover food brought home in containers is more likely to go bad, unless you store it very carefully. Sometimes it’s better not to be greedy and just let it go.
Finally, you should ensure you’re financially protected from food poisoning, on the off-chance it happens.
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