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 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 to life threatening
emergencies. But why is this more common during summertime meals
and how can you protect your loved ones without ruining your
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 some ways you can protect yourself from summertime
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.
Wash hands, cutting boards, dishes and food.
Always wash your hands before and after preparing foods. Never
serve cooked meat on the same plate or tray that you had it on
when raw – make sure the resident BBQ expert is given a clean
plate to place the finished product on. Also thoroughly clean
knives and cutting boards. Ideally you should use a separate
cutting board for bread and produce and another for meat
Wash produce in cold water and scrub thick skinned foods like
cantaloupe as the bacteria can come in contact with the flesh of
the fruit when being cut.
COLD and HOT
Keep cold food cold and hot food hot.
Food can normally last for two hours at room temperature, but
that is decreased to one hour in warm weather. Cold food (potato
salad, sandwiches etc.) should stay in the fridge until ready to
serve. If the food must travel, be certain to use ice or
commercial freezing gel packets. Hot food should also stay
When eating outdoors try to keep cold food in the shade and be
sure warm food is wrapped and insulated.
When the food is no longer being eaten it should be returned to
the ice box or insulated carrier. Food should remain hot or cold
for as long as it is being served and then refrigerated in clean,
covered containers. If you are not able to refrigerate it within
a couple hours it is best to throw it out.
If you suspect a mild case of food poisoning than 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 will help you enjoy your meals and avoid serious
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes
only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any
disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any
health care program.