Delectable gourmet food just as susceptible to germs as the supermarket stuff: Top-10 things gourmet grocers won’t tell you

Delectable gourmet food is just as susceptible to germs as the supermarket stuff.

That’s the number-1 thing that gourmet grocers won’t tell you according to this Smart Money list adapted from the book "1,001 Things They Won’t Tell You: An Insider’s Guide to Spending, Saving, and Living Wisely," by Jonathan Dahl and the editors of SmartMoney.

Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement at the University of Georgia, suggests self-control. "I personally would not buy any food exposed to handling," he says, practically shuddering at the notion of people "taking samples with their fingers." He points out that these visually-appealing foods may carry germs like salmonella and campylobacter jejuni.

Richly-stocked salad bars are probably the worst offenders. Warm temperatures and unsterile prepping conditions can transform a Greek salad into a stomach-turning petri dish. "With some of these salad-bar items, after they’re cut, the diseased organisms can grow and increase to dangerous levels," says Joseph Frank, a professor in the department of food, science and technology at the University of Georgia. Even at the most posh gourmet emporiums, he adds, "there are no disease-free guarantees."

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time