Food Safety when Eating at Buffets

Choose wisely
January 24, 2013

When you decide to eat at a restaurant that works on a self-serve of buffet method, you will definitely want to practice food safety. 

You should never just assume that a restaurant is providing a healthy environment for the foods that they are serving on the buffet.

In most cases, the food will be safe, but you never want to take chances with your health. Here are some things that you should keep in mind for your own safety when you eat at a buffet restaurant.

Hot Foods

The foods that need to stay hot should be kept hot. The proper buffet restaurant will keep those foods in specialty cabinets that keep foods properly warm at all times. If you can see the setting on the food warmer, it should be set to at least 60 degrees Celsius for the safety of the consumer.

Cold Foods

It is equally important for foods that are meant to be cold to stay cold. These foods should be kept in one of two different ways: refrigerated cabinets that keep food at five degrees Celsius or lower and iced cabinets. If the food is kept in a standalone cabinet, make sure that the restaurant is keeping it properly surrounded with ice.


All self-serve buffets should have a guard over them. Often, this is referred to as a sneeze guard, and it is designed to keep germs from other customers getting on the foods. Do not eat at a buffet that does not have the guard. Additionally, the utensils and plates available at the buffet should be clean and dry. Of course, you cannot stand there and inspect every utensil, but the utensils you choose should be clean. If they are not, then this is a concern for all of the utensils.

Buffets can be great places to eat, but you definitely need to be careful when it comes to food safety.