Dr. Oz Show offers consumers some friendly advice about filthy menus

It seems every other day there is an alarming headline about restaurants that gives the public another reason to eat at home. The latest jab came from, of all places, an episode of “The Doctor Oz Show,” where fecal matter on menus was a topic du jour.

In a segment aimed at uncovering all the dirty secrets that restaurants don’t want customers to know, guest chef Jeffrey Saad dished on the industry that has made him a minor celebrity of sorts.

Saad, who was a runner-up on “The Next Food Network Star,” says menus are often dirtier than toilet seats. And while he insists he cleans his menus, he can’t say the same for much of his foodservice brethren.

Dr. Mehmet Oz also got into the act by having a bacterial study performed on seven menus, which turned up evidence supporting Saad’s claim to the tune of a perfect 100 percent, with seven out of seven menus covered in bacteria.

The bacteria were predominantly from fecal matter, but some e-coli bacteria also showed up.

Saad told audience members and consumers, who have to deal with those nasty menus and want to keep bacteria at bay, to hold the menus high and away from their faces. “Hold it high so you don’t die.” Cute, don’t you think? What a clever dude.

We all know that it’s hard to keep people in public places from spreading germs or bacteria by sneezing, coughing or touching, for that matter. But let’s face facts—there’s a whole lot of that going on everywhere, not just in restaurants. Why are restaurants always the easy target? What about pens and ATMs at banks, merchandise and counters at retail outlets and hymnals at churches? If you ask me, public transportation is a much more likely place to pick up an errant germ or two than is a restaurant.

Saad also told viewers that restaurant customers are more at risk of food poisoning when dining after 8 p.m. because theoretically the food might have been sitting out all day.

He encouraged consumers to eat right in the middle of rush hour, when cooks were turning out food at a fever pitch, or if you do eat later, stick to broiled, grilled or boiled.

Because of the headline-making nature of provocative programming like this, and the viral effect it has on websites worldwide, I suspect there will only be more of it. And that is a sickening thought.

Chef Profiles, Feature, Food Safety, Health & Nutrition