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Food and drink safety


Click here for information about food and drink around the world more>

Drinks


In areas where chlorinated tap water is not available, or where hygiene and sanitation are poor (most of Western Europe is excluded from this category), travelers should be advised that only the following may be safe to drink:


1) Beverages, such as tea and coffee, made with boiled water.

2) Canned or bottled carbonated beverages, including carbonated bottled water and soft drinks.

3) Beer and wine: Where water may be contaminated, ice (or containers for drinking) can also be considered contaminated, and it is generally safer to drink directly from the can or bottle of a beverage than from a questionable container. Wet cans or bottles should be dried before being opened, and surfaces that come into direct contact with the mouth should first be wiped clean. If no source of safe drinking water is available, e.g. verifiably safe bottled-water, tap water that is uncomfortably hot to touch may be safe, once it has cooled and put in a thoroughly cleaned container; it can also be used for brushing teeth as well as for drinking.

Food

1) Fresh Fruit and Vegetables: In areas of the world where hygiene and sanitation are known to be poor, to avoid illness, fresh food should always be selected with care. You should avoid unpasteurized milk and milk products, such as cheese, and eat only fruit that you have peeled yourself.Since the sources of the organisms causing travelers' diarrhea are usually contaminated food or water, precautionary measures are particularly helpful in preventing most serious intestinal infections. However, even when persons follow these general guidelines for prevention, they may still develop diarrhea. You may prepare your own fruit juice from fresh fruit. Iced drinks and non- carbonated bottled fluids made from water of uncertain quality should be avoided.

2) Street-food: Many developing (and developed) countries offer an abundance of food sold from stands along the road. It is advisable to avoid such food unless and until you have ample evidence from reliable local sources that it is safe for visitors to eat. Note: many locals may have no trouble with such food or drink, but this is often because they have developed over time bodily immunities against its possible impurities, which is not the case for visitors. You will be tempted, but be careful.

3) Restaurants: It is difficult to generalize about the quality of restaurant food in the U.S., and even more so to do this about all the varieties of restaurant food you are likely to encounter overseas. General principles obviously apply: establishments which cater to outsiders and/or are in the expensive price ranges, are almost always going to offer safe and nutritious food, while those at the other end of the economic spectrum and serve locals may or may not. Assuming that there are no such restaurants or you are on a limited budget, and also that you would like to sample local foods and eating styles, the best advice is to seek sound advice from reputable travel guides or, even better, from your program director or on-site hosts.




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