Ah, summer picnics and barbeques and foodborne illnesses. E. coli, salmonella and other pathogens cause almost 9.4 million diagnosed food poisoning illnesses per year. Nearly 40 million food poisoning cases go undiagnosed. Every year, 128,000 people are hospitalized and about 3,000 die from food poisoning. Food poisoning from spoiled food, E. coli or other contamination can lead to dreadful stomach upset, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Don’t take chances. Make sure your food is safe.
Summer safety tips to prevent food poisoning
- Wash cutting boards and countertops with hot, soapy water before and after preparing food.
- Cold and hot food keeps for two hours. After that, toss it out.
- Put picnic food in the shade. Keep plenty of ice or freezer blocks in the cooler.
- Keep cold foods cold, especially eggs, mayonnaise and dairy products.
- Keep everything clean - dishes, utensils, pans, flatware and cooking surfaces.
- Wash your hands before handling any food or cooking. Insist that children wash their hands before eating or handling food.
- When camping, make sure all hamburger, poultry and processed foods are cooked to a safe temperature—160–165 degrees. Use a thermometer to be sure.
- Never drink untreated water outdoors. Best to drink water brought from home or bottled water from the store.
- Store and serve food only in containers meant for food, and never put non-food items in food containers.
- Have the poison control number 1-800-222-1222 programmed into all phones. Call anytime, 24/7 for expert advice or questions.