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Environmental Health Officers at Epping Forest District Council are advising restaurants to use potatoes if they cannot afford utensils
Kebab shop owners who can’t afford metal utensils are being advised to use potatoes to remove meat from skewers to prevent food poisoning.
Environmental Health Officers at Epping Forest District Council said they found a 'disturbing' amount of takeways were putting customers at risk by using unhygeinic cloths to prepare shish dishes.
Now they have issued a 'Chip tip' encouraging kebab sellers to use potatoes if their budget does not stretch to metal tongs.
The council's Hasan Erdogan said: “Food straight off the grill or out of the oven is sometimes removed with the aid of a towel but our research showed the material was a potential source of contamination.
“Metal tongs are a much safer alternative but amazingly we also found a potato, peeled, washed and then slit to allow it to slide down the skewer, removes the meat just as well.
“It is cheap, convenient and goes into the recycling afterwards so there is no risk of contamination.”
Environmental Health Officers carried out tests on a variety of towels used by restaurants and takeaways for food preparation last summer.
Desribing the findings "disturbing", Mr Erdogan added: “We found all sorts of contamination. In some instances it could lead to food poisoning. We have a duty to protect public health.
“That sometimes means prosecutions but more often it is a matter of good education and communication. We followed up on our visits after the towel tests and have seen dramatic improvements.”
Manager of Mezesphere in Loughton High road, Siobhan Hatton, says that they have not been approached with the suggestion.
She said: “We use flat Turkish bread to remove meat from sticks.
“The only thing we use potatoes for is chips.
“I don’t think that metal tongs are expensive but we prefer to use the bread because they’re not particularly good with different types of meat.
“We haven’t been told about this but we would never say never.”
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