Food Safety in Turkey: Information and Tips
Author : isturkeysafe
Last Update : 6/8/2019
The Turkish cuisine is considered paradise for tourists in terms of variety and quality. For this reason, you should try to taste as much food and drink as possible during the holiday. However, on the other hand, this diversity also reveals food safety problems. Is it safe to eat and drink in Turkey?
- Tap water is safe for cleaning purposes but not safe for drinking (except in some areas). For this reason, bottled water should be preferred if you cannot be sure of the source of the water (for additional information, click here for our article 'Is tap water drinkable in Turkey').
- In Turkey, mussels are cooked by putting rice in it. Hygiene rules are not strictly obeyed during the production stages of the mussels sold on the street in Turkey. The sales environment can give you an idea about this. You cannot know how many days ago the product was cooked. When you ask, all the sellers say that they were made that day, but you can't understand the difference between fresh and deteriorated mussels. In addition, the production source is very important even if the hygiene conditions are ensured during the production. Mussels caught in clean waters do not contain toxic and harmful substances. But the opposite is valid for mussels caught in polluted waters; they can contain toxic and harmful substances. Especially if there is sewage connection in the area mussels are hunted, the risk is quite high. Because heavy metals in the water cannot be sufficiently filtered by mussels, these heavy metals are collected in the fleshy part of the mussel. This causes exposure to heavy metals when eat. Therefore, mussels eat from street vendors in Turkey is not safe at all. Recently, restaurants selling mussels have been opened. Eating mussels from these restaurants is safer because they are under government control (periodic inspections are made by local authorities) and they usually use mussels grown in controlled pools.
- You can see chicken-rice sold on the street in many places in Turkey. Unfortunately, these sales points are often out of control. The chicken can easily be deteriorated out of the refrigerator. After the day it is produced, it can be highly toxic and even life-threatening if not stored properly. For this reason, it is better to stay away from chicken-rice sold on the street, especially in the summer; chicken-rice sold in the street is not safe to eat.
- What is kokorec? Kokorec is a food made from sheep's intestine and sheep's internal fat. The mixture is usually cooked in a charcoal fire. The origin of this food goes back to the Greeks. Nowadays it became one of the most famous Turkish fast food. So is kokorec safe to eat? It depends where you eat. Note that the thing you eat is the intestine, the entire discharge of the animal takes place through this organ. If not cleansed well, eating kokorec can be dangerous due to bacterial contamination. In addition, the traditional kocorec service involves the breaking up into slices of the fire-cooked intestine with knife's knocking melodies on a wooden table (even if you do not eat kokorec, you must experience this environment). If you look closely at this table, you can see that it has been engraved with knife movements over time. Due to the nature of wood, it must be washed very well for use for meat products, bacteria can penetrate into the wood. Cleaning of wood also poses a risk in terms of hygiene. And finally, intestine can be stored out of refrigerator for a while, you cannot be sure about the freshness. So, it may be better to prefer restaurants that cook Kokorec rather than the ones sold on the street.