Restaurant Report Card: 5 dirty items to avoid while dining out


In a special edition of Restaurant Report Card, if you’re dining out for Valentines Day, there are some items at restaurants that could be downright dirty. 

Keep the germs in mind when you’re wining and dining with your Valentine on Thursday night. 

The Today Show asked a University of Arizona microbiologist to point out some gross items commonly found in restaurants.

If possible, steer clear of these five culinary culprits:

First, the table. Even though the table top likely got wiped down, the rags used to clean them are not always clean themselves. This is a health code violation FOX21 sees often when researching southern Colorado restaurants. Violations include either an incorrect amount of sanitizer solution in the rag bucket or the cloths not being soaked between wipe-downs. 

Next, high chairs and booster seats. Just like the little kiddos sitting in them, they can be filled with germs, not to mention dirty diapers and if they are actually getting wiped down, it’s likely with the same rag being used to clean your table. 

That brings us to salt and pepper shakers. They stay on the table all day, getting touched by many hands, and can often be forgotten to be cleaned. That goes for ketchup bottles too. 

Next, lemon or lime wedges. When is the last time you saw a server wearing gloves to make your drinks? They’re also not likely putting them on before grabbing a slice that you’re about to squeeze into your water. This is another violation FOX21 sees inspectors catching all of the time. 

Finally, the worst of them all — menus, especially plastic ones. According to the Daily Meal, researchers say menus can contain about 100 times more bacteria than a typical toilet seat. 

Good Morning America sent a team to swab items on the tables of 12 restaurants, finding that menus carry the most germs. 

Now you’re probably thinking, ‘Wow I can’t touch anything!’. The next time you’re at a restaurant, sit down, order your food, then go wash your hands before eating. 

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