Summer is synonymous with backyard barbecues! Whether you are celebrating a holiday, having a picnic, camping, or just enjoying a little sunshine, the summer months lend themselves to people cooking and eating outdoors.
While an increase in the number of people enjoying the outdoors is great… what isn’t so great is the fact that foodborne illnesses or “food poisoning” also peaks during the summer months. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are a number of reasons that illness spikes during the summer. Bacteria can multiply faster in warmer temperatures and preparing food outdoors can make proper food handling more difficult.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” At least, that’s how the saying goes. With that in mind here are some tips for preventing foodborne illness this summer.
It should go without saying but before you begin preparing or eating any of your summertime favorites be sure to wash your hands with warm, soapy water. This goes for all your utensils and cooking surfaces as well!
Don’t Cross Contaminate
If you are hauling your cookout food to a camping spot or even just the backyard, it’s tempting to make as few trips as possible with the fewest number of containers. This where cross contamination can come into play. Never keep raw meat, poultry, or seafood near ready-to-eat foods and never pack them in the same containers. It’s also important to use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods.
Know Your Numbers
Any grill master will tell you, everyone likes his or her meat prepared a certain way. Before giving in to the demands of a hungry crowd, know your numbers. Cooking food for a long enough amount of time, at a high enough temperature will help kill any harmful bacteria that could cause illness. Check meat with a food thermometer and follow these temperature guidelines:
- Poultry (whole, pieces & ground): 165 °F /74 °C
- Ground meats: 160 °F /71 °C
- Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts & chops): 145 °F /63 °
- Fish & Shellfish: 145 °F (62.8 °C)
A common misconception is that mayonnaise is the cause of most foodborne illness. It’s not the mayo, it’s bacteria. Warm temperatures help bacteria breed. Cold, perishable foods like potato and pasta salads or luncheon meats should be kept in an insulated cooler packed with several inches of ice. The cooler should also be kept out of direct sunlight. If that’s not an option then try packing foods that don’t need to be refrigerated like whole fruits and vegetables or hard cheeses.
Maybe you grabbed the wrong fork? Maybe you played a quick game of Frisbee and left your egg salad sitting in the sun just a little too long? Maybe you didn’t prepare the food yourself? Accidents can happen no matter how many precautions are taken. While there are different types of bacteria and viruses responsible for causing food poisoning, many of the symptoms are the same. The most common symptom of a foodborne illness is diarrhea or vomiting. Typically this symptom can last between 1 to 7 days. Other symptoms can include abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, fatigue, and joint or back aches.
If you are trying to bounce back from a bout of food poisoning IV Hydration can help you get back to enjoying your summer. Foodborne illnesses can dehydrate your body making you feel worse and slow your recovery. It can also make it hard for you to consume the right amount of water in the first place. IV Hydration rehydrates you quickly and it replenishes lost electrolytes and vitamins. Not only does IV Hydration put fluids directly back into your body, we come to you! Our luxury mobile clinic can visit your home, office, or hotel and help get you back on your feet again. Spend more time enjoying the summer with IV Hydration Therapy!