Caterers are serving up food poisoning!  According to the CDC, you’re nearly three times as likely to get sick eating food from a catering company than you are at a restaurant or if you made food yourself. 

That’s exactly what happened to one woman we read about. She was one of nearly 60 people who got violently sick after eating contaminated food at a friend’s catered wedding. She became so weak she was bedridden for a week, and couldn’t go to work or take care of her kids. 

So what’s causing a huge spike in caterer-served food poisoning? Don’t blame it on tainted lettuce or beef, t’s sloppy cater-waiters! The CDC says more than half of the cases of catered food poisoning are caused by careless handling. 

The most common culprit in outbreaks is Norovirus - a flu-like virus. And unlike other common sources of food poisoning – like salmonella or E. Coli – which are spread by animals, Norovirus is spread by humans. And because it can live on virtually any hard surfaces for 12 hours, all it takes is one catering employee who didn’t wash their hands properly to touch a serving spoon – and boom - contamination city. How can you protect yourself at a catered event? 

  • The most important thing is: Use your eyes. If you notice the ice that’s supposed to chill the seafood has melted – or some kid has stuck their finger in the potato salad, alert the catering manager.

  • Then, watch out for undercooked chicken. Experts say poultry is the number one cause of food poisoning. If the breast meat is pink or the juice isn’t clear, don’t eat it!

And if you’re throwing a party, choose a licensed caterer! After all, you don’t want to be remembered as the party host who made all your friends sick!  Or even better, hire a caterer from the National Association of Catering Executives, which offers extra health certification.