Foods to Avoid in Punta Cana: What’s Safe to Eat and Drink?

Plate of food with lobster and fried green plantain

If you are planning a trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, it’s important to know a few travel details. One of the most important considerations is what is safe to eat.

There are a few types of foods that you should avoid so that you don’t experience any kind of stomach upset or food poisoning.

Consider the Source

You need to consider the source of the food. If you are staying at a five-star resort in Punta Cana, the food should be absolutely fine, regardless of what you order. This is because they are following good cooking practices.

They are used to tourists from around the globe and therefore follow many of the same regulations as the FDA.

Smaller resorts, independent restaurants, and street vendors, however, do not always practice the same safety in regards to food and preparation.

Fresh Produce

Variety of fruits and vegetables

There may be cross contamination with fresh fruits and vegetables in a kitchen. You can’t be sure what has been washed and what the food might have touched before being given to you. Especially with raw produce, avoid it whenever possible.

If you want to have fresh fruit, choose fruit that you will peel yourself. This includes bananas, oranges, and grapefruits. If the fruit is already peeled for you or it is a kind of fruit where you eat the skin, you would be best to avoid it entirely.

Dairy Products

Local fresh dairy products in the Dominican Republic, including milk and cheese, may not be pasteurized. Some products are exported from companies that pasteurize everything, so it’s best to read the labels.

If the product comes from a street vendor where it is already unwrapped or it has been handmade, it’s best to pass on the dairy products. Otherwise, you could end up with significant stomach upset due to eating on pasteurized dairy products.

Cold, Prepared Foods

Plate of sushi

Sushi, cold shrimp salad, and other foods that are prepared but served cold should be avoided. It should be a rule of thumb to only eat hot food as you know that the heat will be able to kill any bacteria. Unless you’re eating from a reliable restaurant, you don’t know what kinds of practices are being followed in the kitchen.

Particularly with seafood, chicken, and beef, it’s best to leave any cold foods behind so you don’t risk any kind of foodborne illness.

There is a lot of delicious food throughout the Dominican Republic. Simply avoid a few foods so you don’t run into problems. It will result in a better overall experience on the island when you eat the right food.

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