Eating Safe in Summer

Posted by: Scott Ko

Dripping gelatos, hot summer sand and warm content nights. Who doesn’t love summer? Some of our favorite fruits are in season, which means we can smother our pavlova in berries and drown in endless watermelon and mango juices. Unfortunately, the warmer weather and outdoor eating may also cause an increased incidence of food poisoning. Bacteria in hot, humid weather multiply faster, and no one invited E.coli to the party. Vomiting and diarrhea is particularly nauseating in summer, so here are some tips to ensure basic food safety for the warmer weather.

1. Chill Food promptly – Put foods that need to be kept cold promptly in the fridge. This is particularly important for raw meats and dairy products. This lessens the risk of harmful bacteria multiplying to levels that will make you sick. Also, ensure the temperature in your fridge is adequately cold.

2. Separate raw and cooked foods – Avoid cross-contamination by using separate utensils eg knives, chopping boards and containers for raw meats and ensure they are stored separately. Bacteria from raw meat can easily contaminated other food items and make you sick.

3. Eat leftovers quickly and know when to throw away. Don’t eat food that has been left out of the fridge for more than four hours. Leftovers need to be stored safely and eaten within three to five days. Anymore than that, will require freezing.

4. Cook food properly – Meats need to be thoroughly cooked to ensure all dangerous bacteria are killed. Generally, this means the core temperature of the meat needs to reach at least 75 C degrees. Leftovers should also be reheated to steaming levels before eating.

5. Don’t leave hot foods to completely cool. As soon as the food stops steaming, pop it in the fridge or cool it rapidly with ice.

6. Avoid handling food if you are sick. Bacteria that cause food poisoning symptoms are easily transferable from person to person. Wash your hands thoroughly after vomiting and going to the toilet, and avoid handling food to prevent spreading the bacteria. It is your body’s natural response to expulse the bacteria from the body, so let your body do so and increase your fluid intake. If symptoms persist for a prolonged period, consult your doctor.

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