Tips To Avoid The Risk Of Food Poisoning This Summer

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Are you looking forward to a wonderful summer? Beaches, warm weather and of course BBQ's.
Along with the relaxing atmosphere and ease of preparing a summer BBQ dinner or picnic for friends and family, come some well known risks. You are likely aware that e.coli and salmonella can cause symptoms that range from mild discomfort and irritable bowel syndrome to life threatening emergencies. But, why is this more common during summertime meals and how can you protect your loved ones, without ruining your summer?
During the summer, when we are picnicking or having a BBQ, we are not preparing a meal with the usual amenities we have in the house - sink, oven, fridge. Because of this we are more likely to forget to wash hands, store food properly or even grab a clean plate to serve food.

Here are 3 important food precautions to safeguard yourself and your family:


From the grocery store, to the cart, to the fridge, to the table - keep meats and other food separated.
Always wrap meats, even when thawing to prevent the juices from dripping onto other foods, especially produce. Produce has been identified as a culprit in some food poisoning cases.


When it comes to preventing food poisoning, hygiene is crucial. Always wash your hands before and after preparing foods. Carry sprays that contains bleach, that you can either buy at grocery stores or make your own with a mix of cold water and bleach, which is good to kill bacteria. Thoroughly, wash all fruits and vegetables with this solution and clean knives cutting boards, trays, plates after each use. Scrub thick skinned fruits like cantaloupe, as the bacteria can come in contact with the flesh of the fruit, when being cut. Never serve cooked meat on the same plate or tray that you had it on when raw - make sure is clean, before is given to the resident BBQ expert to place the finished product on. Ideally, you should use a separate cutting board for bread and produce and another for meat products. Use disposable plates, trays or drinking cups, whenever possible. That way, you will have less things to worry about.


Cold and warm foods should be insulated, in order for them to stay like that for as long as possible.
Food can normally last for two hours at room temperature, but that is decreased to one hour in warm weather. Special care should be taken with cold food (seafood and potato salads, sandwiches etc.), when eating outdoors. They should stay in a cool container or in the shade, until ready to serve. If the food must travel, be certain to use ice or cooling gel packets.
Also, keep in mind that are also a lot of insects around the picnic area, so make sure food is in a safe place and is properly covered.
When the food is no longer being eaten, it should be returned to the ice box or insulated carrier. If you are not able to refrigerate or insulate it within a couple hours in clean, covered containers, it is best to throw it out.

If you suspect a mild case of food poisoning, try to limit the foods you eat to the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. In more severe cases you should seek emergency treatment when there are signs of pain, vomiting for several hours or bloody diarrhea. Pregnant women, elderly, those with immune disorders and children are more at risk.

Food safety is an important part of a fun summer. Taking precautions to avoid food poisoning will help you and your loved ones enjoy your meals and avoid serious consequences.

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