WASHINGTON - A chef's "secret" recipe may not be the only secret that restaurant staff want to keep from customers.
Many restaurant menus are crawling with bacteria because they're not wiped down between customers, while pepper shakers come in as the second most germy spot on a table top, according to a collection of restaurant studies compiled by Reader's Digest.
Other stomach-turning results reveal that 53 percent of food chain workers report they've gone to work while sick. Plastic gloves don't provide any real assurance that the person wearing them is following sanitary practices.
Nasty bathrooms might also be a sign that behind closed kitchen doors, conditions are even worse.
In addition, customers may want think twice before trusting calorie counts on menus. The Reader's Digest article quotes a study that found about one in five low-calorie menu options understates the numbers by 100 calories.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)