Five office foods that should be banned

KATE JONES
Last updated 11:52 11/06/2014

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Is it dim sims wafting through the office? Your workmate's reheated tuna pasta bake? Or the garlic-infused curry haunting the kitchen?

Workers are spoiled for choice when it comes to the foods that should be banned from the office. While few companies enforce such bans, employees who like to eat aldesko need to observe co-worker etiquette to avoid drawing battlelines in the office.

Jodie Bache-McLean, director of the June Dally-Watkins school of professional and personal development in Brisbane, says those who enjoy strong-smelling foods should eat away from their colleagues.

"It is all just common sense really, we spend at least eight hours a day with our co-workers, let's ensure that we show consideration to one another," she says.

"If your office is small and you do have a passion for pungent food, perhaps find a shady spot outside, take your lunch break and enjoy the peaceful surroundings and enjoy your lunch."

Which office foods would you ban? Post a comment and let us know.

While smelly foods may stink out the workplace, some of the worst food offenders are often the healthiest choices says Sydney naturopath Hayden Keys.

"Foods such as egg, salmon and tuna have lots of proteins and are good for maintaining blood sugar balance and helping people stay focused," Keys says.

Leftovers are a popular lunch choice for time-strapped office workers, but Keys says leftovers are among the worst offenders.

"When these foods are contained, the gases are concentrating so they come out as soon as the container is opened," he says.

"If you're reheating food in a container, eat in a well ventilated area or the kitchen.

"Try to remove yourself from where everyone's eating."

Whatever your food frustration, chances are you'll find it in our list of five foods that should be banned in the office:

1. Fish

"Tinned tuna is pretty gross," says senior finance director Justin Cahill.

"What is worse is when people drain their tinned tuna in the sink, but don't wash the sink - not nice."

With its strong cat food-like odour, tinned fish such as tuna, mackerel and sardines is high on the hate list for many office workers.

"Even though I work in the animal industry and am opening cat food every day, it still makes me gag each time," says veterinary nurse Liz Shaw.

Travel editor Natalie Esler says her top office food annoyance was sitting next to a colleague who ate tuna straight from the tin.

"It was like someone had left an open can of cat food in the office," she says.

"Puke."

2. Instant noodles

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Easy and quick to make, instant noodles are a common lunch choice for harried office workers. But while this meal of convenience may be acceptable for the eater, it most certainly is not tolerable for co-workers.

"Noodles with lots of fish sauce - stinky!" says business analyst Sonia Greaves.

3. Dim sims

Steamed dimmies sure know how to leave their mark on an open-plan office. Or any space, for that matter.

"I once got told off for eating dim sims in a lecture theatre," says carpenter Daniel Giuffrida.

"Apparently they smell terrible if you're not the one eating them."

4. Curries

Combining some of the most flavoursome spices works wonders for the palette, but not for the workplace.

"I worked with a guy who reheated a garlic dish five days a week, every week for six months," says stakeholder engagement coordinator David Fitzgerald.

"I think it only stopped after he was attacked by a vampire."

Though curries may be loathed in the confines of an office, Keys says they make a healthy lunch.

"Even though they are smelly, spices like turmeric and cinnamon, have lots of antioxidants that are good for protecting against inflammatory diseases," he says.

5. Microwave popcorn

Fifth spot was a hotly contested position with ripe bananas, Parmesan cheese, boiled eggs, energy drinks and oranges all vying for a position. But microwave popcorn won for the simple reason that it has the power to stink out an office for days if burnt, but also offends when cooked properly.

"Microwave popcorn is torturous, unless they are willing to share," says product manager Amelia Crook.

"The whole office ends up craving it."

- Sydney Morning Herald

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