Always stir the soup, and other tips to have a safe trip to the buffet

Buffets may be a food lover's paradise, but the behavior of inconsiderate diners can sometimes have stomach-churning results.

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Inside Edition went undercover and saw people plucking food with their fingers, sampling from the buffet and even someone sticking their head under the glass sneeze guard to smell the food.

Food safety expert Howard Cannon is sharing tips on what to look out for when you hit the buffet.

His No. 1 concern involves the serving utensils.

Cannon says that as long as the part of the handle you are grabbing is away from the food, you are not mixing a dirty handle with what someone would like to eat.

If you see the handle of the spoon or tongs resting on the food, he advises steering clear.

He also added that the hungry customer must be aware of food that is piled high when it comes to seafood or shellfish.

“There's no way that the food on top is as cold as the food on the bottom, so dig right in,” he said.

With soup, Cannon advises stirring the pot.

“Take the spoon and stir it. If you take it off the top, it won't be as hot,” he said.

All buffets should have glass sneeze guards and there should be no condensation on the glass.

“Condensation is waste water and if it drips on the food it will cause you to get sick,” Cannon said.

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In addition to knowing what to look out for, there are also ways to get the best bang for your buck at a buffet.

“I would go for the seafood, the high-end steak first, get your money's worth,” Sandy Mav, the manager at the Port of Call Buffet in Hackensack, N.J., told Inside Edition.

Another tip from Mav is to pace yourself, she advises using just a little of the dishes you want to sample. If you like them, you can always get more.

"You have a huge selection of foods, value, bang for your buck, things that you would not normally try," Cannon added. "You should not be nervous at all [to go to a buffet]." 

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