What could be better, during the warm late-summer and early-autumn days than having a leisurely picnic, or hosting a family barbeque? Between the food and the camaraderie, the memories will last for years. But you might leave with more than just memories…
It’s proven that foodborne illness, otherwise referred to as food poisoning, occurs more often during these warmer months, and the cause is twofold. First, bacteria are present throughout the environment, and they grow faster in the warm months. Most foodborne bacteria grow fastest at temperatures from 90 to 110 °F, with moisture to flourish, given that late-summer-into-fall weather is often hot and humid. Under the appropriate circumstances, harmful bacteria can quickly multiply on food to large numbers—causing the unfortunate person (or persons) eating the food to get sick.
The second reason is because outside activities increase during this time period. More people are cooking outside at picnics, barbecues, and on camping trips. The safety controls that a kitchen provides — thermostat-controlled cooking, refrigeration, and washing facilities — are usually not available.
The USDA offers the following tips for a safe outdoor eating experience:
Clean: Wash Hands and Surfaces Often.
Especially when eating away from home, find out if there’s a source of potable (safe drinking) water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning. Or pack clean, wet, disposable washcloths or moist towelettes and paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces.
Separate: Don’t Cross-Contaminate.
Wrap raw meats securely; avoid raw meat juices from coming in contact with ready-to-eat food. Wash plates, utensils, and cutting boards that held the raw meat or poultry before using again for cooked food.
Cook: Cook to Safe Temperatures.
Food safety experts agree that food is safely cooked when it is heated for a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness. In addition, cook meat and poultry completely at the picnic site—not ahead of time, as this allows bacteria to survive and multiply to the point that subsequent cooking cannot destroy them.
Chill: Refrigerate Promptly.
Holding food at an unsafe temperature is a prime cause of foodborne illness. Keep cold food cold!
Food left out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours may not be safe to eat. Above 90 °F, food should not be left out over 1 hour. Play it safe; put leftover perishables back on ice once you finish eating so they do not spoil or become unsafe to eat.
When in doubt—throw it out!
At Symbius Medical, we are dedicated to improving the quality of life for our customers and the communities we serve. We offer a 24-hour on-call service that will answer any questions or concerns that you or caregivers may have when using our home medical equipment or products. We invite you to visit one of our regional retail branch locations for all your home medical equipment needs or call us toll free at 800-948-1868 to place your home medical supply order today.