You might want to think twice before going HAM on a restaurant's free chips and salsa. Not only will they make you so full you won't be able to eat your actual food, they also might be someone else's leftovers. Su Casa, a Mexican restaurant in Michigan, has been accused of reusing uneaten chips and salsa and serving it to other customers, WWMT reported.
Kristie Bowie, the mother of a 16-year-old busser at the restaurant, revealed Su Casa's practices on Facebook last week.
According to the post, the restaurant's management told Bowie's daughter she should not "throw away the salsa, chips, etc., that come back that 'looked' like they haven't been touched." A policy that sure, prevents food waste, but promotes feelings of nausea.
Bowie's daughter confronted Edgar Suarez, the owner of the restaurant, about the chip policy, WWMT reported. When he admitted it was true, the teenager put in her notice. Suarez then allegedly belittled Bowie's daughter, telling her she had no common sense and "asked her if she is such a clean freak why [was] her apron dirty," Bowie said in her Facebook post.
When asked by WWMT about the allegations, the restaurant owner claimed he didn't know what he was doing was wrong. "I thought it was okay," Suarez told the news station. He said he has now learned his lesson and will throw out all unused food moving forward.
The practice of reusing already touched food is potentially unsafe and a little psychologically disturbing for baseline germaphobes. A 2009 study found that double-dipping a chip into a dip like salsa or cheese can transfer bacteria from the dipper's mouth to the bowl (though the bacteria levels do die down after about two hours). By these numbers, if restaurant salsa is reused within 120 minutes, patrons could be consuming strangers' bacteria.
Even worse, re-serving food can also increase the risk of contracting viruses like hepatitis A, which is often transmitted through contaminated food, Eater noted. This means if an infected person touches food — like free chips or a bread basket — and the food is then re-served to another table, members at the second table could be at risk for contracting the virus.
Moral of the story? Stick to non-communal foods that you don't suspect will be repurposed. May we suggest a margarita? Allow the booze to do its work so you can forget about how the world is just fully contaminated.