Diners warned of barbecue heath risks

Diners warned of barbecue heath risks

A Department of Health Service Support (DHSS) survey has revealed five health risks from tabletop barbecue buffet dining.

Dr Samart Thirasak, DHSS deputy chief, said that from Dec 4 to 22, the department conducted a monitoring survey on 26,889 restaurant-goers nationwide and found about 32% often patronised DIY barbecued pork buffets.

Diners also engage in several unhealthy eating practices that can lead to non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

One of the risks of eating barbecued food stems from utensils being passed between raw and cooked food — and a bad habit admitted to by 44.7% of the samples is not using separate chopsticks for raw and cooked meat.

According to Dr Samart, these people are at risk of sensorineural hearing loss (or deafness fever) brought on by Streptococcus suis, a bacteria commonly found in raw meat.

The 62.9% of barbecue diners who prefer to eat pork belly are at risk of diseases caused by overconsumption of fat, including hypertension and hyperlipidemia.

A seafood-loving 58.8% of the sample reported excess consumption that can lead to high cholesterol and a risk of ingesting the formalin preservative. While 58.4% said they always chose soft drinks over water with their food, which according to Dr Samart, can lead to diabetes due to the high sugar content.

A survey also showed that 42% of diners overeat at buffet restaurants.

Dr Samart suggested that people should not frequent BBQ buffets more than once or twice a month.

Diners should avoid sweet, salty and greasy foods and, where possible, switch from red meat, sweets and soft drinks to fish, chicken, fruits and water.

Dr Samart also suggested that diners chew their food well before swallowing and make an extra effort to keep utensils used to prepare and eat raw foods separate to prevent the spread of bacterial diseases.