That salad bar is pretty tempting, especially when you're doing some quick grocery shopping during your lunch hour. But before you lean over the sneeze guard to make yourself a salad, you should know a few things.
First of all, many supermarkets make their prepared meals from food that's expired and needs to be eaten immediately. We're talking pasta salads, fruit salads, even rotisserie chickens.
Many of the warm prepared foods at your deli counter or salad bar may be kept at unsafe temperatures because the store doesn't want anything to dry out. At the salad bar, cold food should be at a temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius). Hot food should be kept at more than 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57.2 degrees Celsius). Unsafe temperatures allow dangerous bacteria to grow, like E. coli or salmonella.
Look for a thermometer in the food case or, if in doubt, ask.