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Restaurant Safety Expert Opines on Injuries From Dangerously Hot Food

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on April 9, 2018

Restaurant Expert WitnessThis case involves a young child who was seriously burned while eating with her family at a popular chain restaurant. The family had never eaten at this particular chain of restaurants before, and after reviewing the menu decided to order a number of pizzas for the table. After a short wait, the waitress delivered the pizzas to the table, without giving any indication or warning to the family that the pizzas were extremely hot. Regardless, the family waited several minutes for the pizzas to cool off before beginning to eat. Nevertheless, the Plaintiff went to grab a slice of pizza from the tray when the slice’s topings slid off the pizza and on to his arm. The child suffered serious burns from the hot toppings of the pizza, and required an extended stay in the hospital along with skin grafts.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with restaurant rules and regulations, specifically with product temperature?
  • 2. What is the proper temperature that pizza should be served to customers?
  • 3. Do you have knowledge of the safety protocols that should be followed by staff members at restaurants?

Expert Witness Response E-008457

I am very familiar with restaurant rules and regulations, having worked in management positions for various quick-serve restaurants in the past. Additionally, I consult on service and safety at my own firm, so I have specific expertise when it comes to quick serve restaurants like the one in this case. Pizza should be served to customers at a minimum of 135 degrees F and it must be served in the proper container(s) (as designed by the restaurant) for takeout. Employees of the restaurant should also be diligent about verbally reinforcing how hot the pizza is while serving it. 


Expert Bio

This highly qualified expert has over 25 years of experience in the food service industry, including chain restaurant franchises and quick service restaurants. She holds a B.A. in Chemistry and a M.S. in Food Science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She also performed post-graduate research in the Department of Food Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A member of the Institute of Food Technologists, she previously worked in different management positions at various foodservice companies.

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