clean utensils

Are your utensils clean?

Food Safety: Top Concern for Bacolod Restaurants

Food Safety: It is not enough for food to be tasty and presentable.
What you can’t see or touch can affect our bodies nicely or adversely.
food safety in Bacolod
A pretty table setting. A vibrant dish that smells oh so good. You dig in. You’re satisfied. When you get home, you also get sick. How safe is your food? Photos from the internet.

As many of you dear readers have observed, my features have been leaning towards covering food events and promoting Bacolod restaurants, particularly those home-grown joints that have sprouted around the city. It had been one of my goals–to promote Bacolod–our culture, people, food, products, art, services, and such, to the world. As much as we can, my husband and I, who is as adventurous as I am when venturing out for a good eat, would go out and try to sample new fares and promote them to our social media followers and our blogs. It had become an advocacy, which is the basis for this blog’s most famous post:

Read: Where to Eat: List of Bacolod Home-Grown Restaurants

So anyway, not a lot of people know that I was afflicted with Hepatitis A last month, January 2016. I felt so bad that I was in bed for about five days and couldn’t eat well because I was nauseated. I was not able to work and I had to quarantine myself from my family, especially the kids. Oh how bad it was to push them away when all they want was to hug me! I was diagnosed on January 26, after a blood test revealed that my ALT (SGPT) test result shot up to 1,608 (normal range is 0-33). I then followed it with a HAV test just for confirmation and yes, suspicions are correct that I was infected. According to the pathology of Hepatitis A, I could have been infected sometime in December. And with the many places I go to eat, I could have gotten the virus anywhere. So I am not pointing fingers. And it happened to me, even though I consider myself one with a tough tummy.

I researched how one gets infected with Hepatitis A and I felt so nauseated to think that the mode of infection is fecal-oral. In our dialect, my initial reaction was, “Yuck! Kadamak!”

I am not accusing anyone because I was the only one who was infected in my family and among my friends so I could not really trace where I got it. But I think that this is also a wake up call to local restaurant owners–you should always be vigilant in your food handling and service.

A Basic Restaurant Improvement
I am one who uses the bathroom often so I have used almost all the restrooms in the places that I have dined in. After downing my drinks, I would feel the urge to relieve myself. In the United States, one remarkable thing that I noticed at their restaurant wash areas is that there is a sign that says, “All employees are required by law to wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet.”

Here in the Philippines, I would often sigh every time I use the toilet because most of the time, they don’t have soap or worse, no running water. So how could their employees wash their hands because they also share the use of the same toilet?

If there is one that I would like to see in Bacolod restaurants is a lavatory with soap and running water. It would be more sanitary to provide liquid soap to avoid contamination. And please, don’t dilute the soap to the point that it hardly lathers anymore. As I have learned, they don’t need to be anti-bacterial. Any soap will still effectively clean the hands.

You might think that this is added expense. But think about the repercussions. You and your business will also suffer if clients get sick from eating contaminated food.

And while I am on the issue of restaurant toilets, it would really be a plus for you restaurant owners if you improve your restrooms–not really to beautify them but to have them cleaned up before peak hours so that when customers come in, they will find a nice smelling comfort room with dry floors. Please lang.

Food Safety Ordinance of Bacolod
Food safety ordinance of Bacolod. Image from the FB account of Councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sigue.

Food Safety Ordinance of Bacolod
Councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sigue has passed an ordinance “Ensuring the Observance of Food Safety Standards in the City of Bacolod under Republic Act 10611 or “The Food Safety Act of 2013”. The Act is supposed to “strengthen the food safety regulatory system in the country to protect consumer health and facilitate market access of local foods and food products, and for other purposes.” In an interview last June 2015, Councilor Sigue said taht Bacolod Food Safety Standards will boost the ‘food tourism industry’ in the city and the province of Negros Occidental.

Yes, it should. But as a victim, the ordinance should be enforced and proper guidelines should be set and disseminated to restaurant owners and all those covered in the law (like slaughterhouses and markets). These should be strictly enforced and corresponding fines should also be meted. But fines or no fines, restaurant owners should make it their priority not just to serve great-tasting and IG-perfect dishes but also food that is safe for their guests to eat.

We, the social media influencers, are trying everything that we can to promote our city and its local businesses. But it wouldn’t help if people get sick from dining in restaurants.

food safety guideline
A basic food safety guideline from the

Anyway, I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty details of other food safety/food handling systems. But at the very least, hand washing should be properly done because it is the basic care in preparing food. And a lot of problems can already be avoided with just proper hand washing. Restaurant owners and staff (kitchen crew and servers) should know what proper hand washing should be. This is not to bring down or insult anyone, but just a gentle reminder of what should be done to keep everyone safe. I am speaking from experience and I don’t want that to happen to anyone. I am sure that I am not an isolated case. Not only was the experience really bad, the costs my sickness entailed did a dent on my pocket–from the blood tests, to the consultations, and the medication (for a month!). And I was not able to work for about two weeks and was still advised to rest for the remainder of the 30-day period. So please, be reminded.

These are not mine, sources are mentioned.

How to Wash Your Hands: The Best Way
Any part of the hands and arms that could potentially touch food needs to be washed. To wash their hands, a person should first wet their hands and forearms with water. Next, they should add a dime-sized amount of soap. Regular soap works fine. Anti-bacterial soap does not need to be used.
To get the hands clean, the person should rub the soap over the surface of skin on the front and back of the hands, on the wrists, between the fingers and just under the nails. Friction and rubbing remove dirt from the hands. A person should lather with the soap for at least 20 seconds, away from the stream of water. After lathering for 20 seconds, the person should rinse the soap away with warm, running water. They should then dry their hands with a paper towel or a clean cloth towel. They should not rub their hands dry on their pants or an apron. Source:
food safety guide
5 steps to food safety. Here is a more detailed guide from
When Should Hands Be Washed
● After taking out the garbage or trash
● After clearing tables or busing dirty dishes
● After touching soiled aprons or clothing
● After touching anything that may contaminate the hands
(any surface not sanitized)
● After sneezing, coughing or using a tissue
● After smoking, eating, drinking or chewing gum or tobacco
● After using any cleaning, polishing or sanitizing chemical
● After using the restroom
● Before and after handling raw food
● After touching the hair, face or body

Hand Hygiene
● Fingernails should be kept short and clean.
● Nail polish, false nails and acrylic nails should not be worn while handling food.
● Cuts and sores should be treated and kept covered with clean bandages.

What do you think about this food safety issue in our Bacolod restaurants? Do drop me some messages in the comments. Thank you!

37 thoughts on “Food Safety: Top Concern for Bacolod Restaurants

  1. Food safety is a must for me! Esp when travelling, always making sure that we are eating in clean places because getting food poisoning while on vacation sucks!

    1. Two years ago, our family went to Cebu for our annual reunion. We stopped by a restaurant, which looked nice, near the pier where we docked. He got a bad case of diarrhea and was miserable the whole 3 days. 🙁

  2. I, too, am very concerned about dirty restaurant restrooms. I always carry with me a small bottle of alcohol or sanitizer because most restaurants don’t have running water. 🙁

  3. Applause to the local government of Bacolod for making an ordinance on food safety. I’m a picky eater, and I do not want to eat in kadiri areas. And yes, I check out washrooms too. If the washroom is dirty, chances are the kitchen is too huhu

  4. I appreciate this article and I hope this will encourage restaurant owners to provide a hand wash area with soap and running water. A clean, dry and well-supplied toilet is an indicator for me that that establishment is sanitary. 😊

  5. Ang galing ng ginawa ng local government ng Bacolod. I have always wondered about the cleanliness of a restaurant. Tignan mo ang kitchen, syempre you have all those utensils, for example. Simply because the cook did not see a cockroach doesn’t mean that no cockroach was crawling all over there.

    Now, the toilet which is used by the customers, if the restaurant owners do not make an effort to keep it clean AT ALL TIMES, what more places customers do not see?

  6. I hope the local government will be more strict on this – to really implement guidelines on food safety. Also, restaurant owners to be keen in maintaining proper food handling, storage, proper hand washing among their employees and their restrooms.

    1. The government should play a vital role in this. The ordinance is in place…next step, proper implementation with stiff fines to violators. That will keep the restaurateurs on their toes always for everyone’s safety.

  7. Food safety is in top of my list especially since I have young boys and a hubby who has a sensitive stomach. It’s hard to deal with stomach pains and bathroom tragedies especially if out on the road.

    We usually check out the bathroom, just like the commenter above. If bathroom palang madumi na, what more sa kusina.

  8. Food Safety must be observe at all times in all Food Industry, may it be a restaurant, hotels , fastfood,carinderya and establishmemts selling foods. Cleanliness in the kitchen, toilet and dining area should be observed diligently, and on top of that ,restaurants should also observed the proper way of how they store or.where they keep their diningware,cookware after using/washing them – as I have observed most of it , they just store or leave them in an open shelves, that there might be cockroaches,rats etc when the.lights are off in.that storage area.

  9. This is a wonderful article that touches on the basics of hygiene and sanitation on food.

    We are what we eat, so it is important for us to be concious everytime we eat – where to eat and what to do before eating, as in a short ritual.

    In fact, this post is comprehensive enough to cover all the elements of food handling and safety.

    Health is wealth, as the adage goes, and being healthy starts with our food.

    Thumbs up to this informative and educational article!

    1. I am thinking that hand washing is a basic ritual that people it’s like second nature. But I noticed that not everyone are as concerned about hand washing as they should be. I presume that some of them may actually be in the food industry.

  10. It is very unfortunate that you had to suffer Hepatitis A. How I wish all of the restaurant owners can read your informative post as I’m really concerned about food safety too. I usually accompany Lloyd, my co-blogger, as he covers food and restaurants, so I try different food at different places too. Your post is a good reminder to everyone to wash one’s hands and be hygienic. -Me-An

  11. I laughed when I read “Yuck! Kadamak!”. Haha. Damak jud. Haha. Anyway, this is a really great ordinance. I do hope the government will become more strict about this specially now that a lot of restaurants are popping up everywhere. I always remember the animated movie Ratatouille when it comes to this topic. Haha.

  12. I’m really sad to hear what happened to you. I’ve been to Bacolod 2 years ago and it is one of the destinations in the country I’d recommend my friends to go on a food trip. There are lots of restos to choose from. We’ve been to Manokan Country and Calea among others. I can say my overall experience was great. Thank you for sharing this honest story. I hope restaurant owners, not only in Bacolod, will follow strict cleanliness and sanitation. And I hope this kind of untoward incident will not happen again.

    1. I thought about whether to write about it or not because I am a staunch supporter of our local restaurant industry. I keep promoting them and their offerings. But well, someone has to speak up because I know I am not the only one who has been a victim of poor food handling practices.

  13. Safely handling food is a real issue, whether you are preparing meals at home or dining out. I worked for many years in the food service industry and it is surprising to me that more people do not get ill due to lax enforcement of health code law in the United States. Generally, most establishments do a fairly good job at following all of the rules for safe food handling procedures overall, but there are always those lazy individuals who feel like the rules do not apply to them or they have generally unsanitary personal habits.

    For my husband and myself, it has come to the point where we rarely go out to dine anymore. This because I simply do not trust the people behind the closed kitchen doors to always have our health as their main concern while handling and preparing our food. Another reason is due to the cheapening of food products and the use of not-so-healthy fillers in favor of making larger profits, but that is a subject for a later discussion.

  14. This reminds me of how strict SM City is when it comes to the cleanliness and food safety at the foodcourt. Im hoping that all establishments in our city will have the same gusto when it comes to the same subject matter..

  15. People go to Bacolod for the food so I’m glad the local government through our good councilor Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue has come up with the Food Safety Ordinance. I just hope that this effort will help raise awareness among restaurant owners and consumers that food safety should be a concern of everybody.

    1. Yeah this is a good law. But this should also be properly implemented. We still see restos with uncovered storage areas for utensils and such. You could only imagine the creepy crawlies there are night. Sigh…

  16. The city governance of Bacolod is commendable… Food safety is always a priority.. This is an informative post.. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. Food safety, from production, handling, preparation and presentation, must be a primary concern of restaurant owners. In the term used in the construction industry, it must be Safety First. People involved in the food industry must have proper training, be well-equipped, and fully monitored to ensure that strict compliance is observed. I hope that your post is a wake-up call to those who are taking things lightly and also to the public to be fully informed and vigilant when it comes to food safety.

  18. Proper sanitation and food safety must be the our no. 1 priority. And I agree just because a dish looks clean and well presented doesn’t mean it’s safe for human consumption. Restaurant owners needs to be more vigilant about the way they serve their food. Awesome article. Thanks for sharing!

  19. This reminded me of the first procedure that was taught to us back in nursing school-Hand washing. It is the most basic yet the most neglected thing when it comes to food handling. I really appreciate those establishments that provide clean water, hand soap and tissues for the customers to use.

  20. Food safety should he priority. It shouldn’t be compromised. Good job for the move of Bacolod I hope that everyone should comply .

    I also hate it when a restaurant doesn’t have running water and soap. I’m sorry to know what happened to you good thing you recover fast.

    We should be very careful in choosing the place to eat plus in preparing our food at home. Washing our hands is trying indeed important.

  21. Finally, somebody says it! I totally agree with everything that you’ve said. Plus, maintenance of public restrooms in our country are often neglected as if using them isn’t one of the basic human needs!

  22. It is really important that restaurants and food establishments should always practice correct food handling as well as “proper dishwashing” pa gd. Food residues left on the plates and utensils can be contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms which can cause diseases such as typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, food poisoning, etc. Ka very delikado gd. Basi isa pa gd ni ka reason why nagka hepa ka moms. 🙁

  23. Food safety should be first and foremost among the many priorities of food establishments in Bacolod and other places in Negros Island. One of the reasons people come to Bacolod is for the food, if not the top reason, so it is only but fitting that LGU’s especially the Health Officials see to it that our food safety standard is above par.

  24. Food safety is also a must for me. When I was a child, I was a victim of food poisoning. They served a contaminated spaghetti. I can’t forget how traumatic that was for me. 🙁

  25. Food safety is important. And we need to set some standards somehow. But I am also thinking about the street food vendors. While I know they are a health risk, but what alternative or option can we present them with? How can we impose to them these standards without affecting their income, the price of their goods and yet not compromise the health of the consumers? I also don’t have answers. But I just hope somebody can come up with something to solve this. Also, even if we do impose food safety practices, how will these vendors implement this? Maybe they should be asked to join a seminar or training or something.

    1. I think that it would be good to gather them all to attend a food safety seminar. But at the same time, we know that most street vendors do not have access to running water so I assume that the servers do not even wash their hands. This is especially true for those eateries that sprout only at night when the establishments close in the area. They set up their tables and chairs and serve food to customers. I have seen some who just wash the plates in a pail. When they change the water is beyond me. But people still eat in these make shift eateries, probably because they are cheap. So I guess, it is eat at your own risk. But it is different when it is a full-service restaurant and the owners do not give much attention to food safety.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *