A hot food bar with someone serving themselves pasta
Signs You Should Avoid Your Grocery Store's Hot Bar
Your local grocery store's hot food bar can be a petri dish of bacteria and germs that can lead to food poisoning, so here are some warning signs that the food may be unsafe.
The time food remains on the buffet and the temperature at which it's stored are key. Hot dishes should be stored at 140°F or above, while cold items should be kept below 40°F.
Buffet food should be discarded after two hours, regardless of temperature. Avoid late-night visits to minimize the chance of eating food that's been sitting out for too long.
Sticking to reputable stores with busy buffets is one way of ensuring fresher food and lower risk. Also, consider the store's cleanliness and staff's hygiene standards.
Lastly, look for sneeze guards to prevent airborne germs from reaching the food, and check that each dish has a dedicated serving utensil to prevent cross-contamination.