The vacation season is at its peak and people try to make the most of the long sunny days, enjoying outdoor weekend escapes, pool parties, and garden barbecues. However, due to the high temperatures and the tendency to eat out more, this is also the season with the highest food poisoning risk. In order to keep having a pleasant summer time, take into consideration our useful food safety advice:
1. Never Skip the Washing
A lot of tummy pain and restroom detention can be prevented just by following the simple rules of properly washing hands, food, and kitchen utensils. Moreover, be extra-careful with leafy greens and rinse thoroughly even the pre-washed salads. Don’t skip the process with frosted vegetables.
2. Watch Those Temperatures
During the hot season, you need to keep an eye on the temperatures when you transport food from the supermarket, when you cook it and when you store it. Temperatures ranging from 40°F and 140°F allow bacteria to multiply, so keep perishable food below 40°F and cook it at temperatures exceeding 140°F (more info here). If your favorite supermarket is not close to your home, make sure you put meat and dairy in an insulated bag and inside the car, if air conditioning is functional.
3. The Packaging Says It All
Shop carefully to keep yourself healthy. Ditch any cans or jars with loose or bulging leads, as well as frozen food that has weary packaging or excess frost on it. Ice crystals can be an indicator of refreezing, which might affect the quality and taste of the food. Always look for the expiration dates and composition of processed foods; if it’s not visible and clear is better to give up the product.
4. Raw and Cooked Don’t Make a Good Team
If you cook at home, you have to clean any surfaces that made contact with raw meat, otherwise, bacteria that is destroyed while cooking can remain on other products and make you sick. It also helps to wash all the kitchenware used to prepare uncooked products before using them for any prepared food to avoid contamination or simply separate them.
5. Pay Attention to Details When Dining Out
As soon as you enter a restaurant, inspect the cleanliness of tables, menus and check the restroom. If it is dirty, so might be the kitchen. If you have to eat a place with problematic hygiene, make sure food is served hot, don’t order medium rare meat or simply ask for their most popular meal to make sure the ingredients are fresh.
6. Choose Wisely
Avoiding food poisoning on holiday can be a real challenge, especially if you visit exotic locations which are hot and humid. Buffets, so popular at all-inclusive resorts, are one of the most usual sources of contamination: dishes sit out at room temperatures for hours, food is reheated or moved from one plate to another. Don’t indulge into the abundance of a buffet, but opt for smaller quantities of freshly cooked meals.
7. Beware of Street Food
While the concept of street food is very popular and gives the casual tourist the opportunity to have a taste of local delish at an affordable price, it is best for your health to skip the experience. Often, street vendors don’t have the proper conditions of storing raw ingredients. If the sweet smells of street foods seduce you, remember to check on certain aspects, like the use of gloves, hair covers, and food protectors and most important, the existence of a sink. Make sure you are served the hot food steaming and avoid at all costs rewarmed food.
8. Drinks Can Pose a Threat
No matter how careful you are with your food, you must be even careful with your water sources. When it comes to holiday resorts, the safest option is to stick to bottled drinks. Furthermore, wipe off cans before you pour the content or use a straw. Another useful tip is to abstain from fresh mixed juices, as poorly cleaned machines may leak fermented leftovers from previously prepared squash. Last, but not the least, skip the ice cubes or you might get some dirty water in your cocktail.
All things considered, food poisoning can be kept away if you sit up and take notice of a few simple rules. So be careful and enjoy the rest of summer!