The thing about buffets is: The food is sitting out there, and who knows how long it’s been sitting there? It’s one reason that the fast-food breakfast buffet on road trips has always made me kind of queasy: Who wants to eat old eggs? I’m sure that buffet restaurants have specific health-code requirements so that they have to rotate the eggs every hour or so, or keep the food warmed or cooled at a certain temperature to prevent food-borne illness. But you can see how such illnesses can possibly happen, as a 62-year-old Texas woman claims happened to her. She’s now suing the accused restaurant for $1 million.
Turns out there’s actually a name for buffet-related illness. Dallas News reports “the bacteria that cause ‘fried rice syndrome,’ Bacillus cereus, are commonly found on foods that have sat out at room temperature and can cause cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Food And Drug Administration.” While the symptoms don’t usually last more than a day or two, Germaine Mobley wound up in the ICU, allegedly as a result of having lunch at the Waxahachie, Texas buffet restaurant Asian King in 2016. After the lunch, she started vomiting, went to the hospital, and subsequently spent three months in rehab. She had pre-existing health conditions that she says made the “fried rice syndrome” even more severe. Through a translator, Asian King owner Huanan Ye said “that the lawsuit does not provide sufficient proof of the claims.” Right, because they can’t really test food from two years ago? We smell a possible settlement, and will continue to be a little wary of the buffet lunch.