Summer And Food Poisoning

What clicks with summers? Camping… Picnics… visit to open gardens and  India Gate?

Yes summer is all about eating out and eating fresh produce, outdoor eating and entertaining for special occasions or family gatherings. Unfortunately, food poisoning is more common during summers than any other season of the year. We need to be extra cautious during summers, as heat and moist together makes the best flora for lot of bacteria to grow which can also lead to food poisoning.

Food poisoning refers to illness caused by contaminated food. Food may contain toxins produced by bacterial growth. Most of our house kitchens are not designed for the safe handling for food in large quantities. Preparing and eating food outdoors- while camping or on picnics- can be also be difficult where refrigeration and places to wash hands is not possible.

 Symptoms for food poisoning include cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.  Foods commonly associated with food poisoning are chicken, eggs, shell fish, meat, un-pasteurized milk and untreated water.

Tips to prevent food poisoning

Prevention is better than cure – Tips to prevent food poisoning:

Few steps that will keep you safe during summers and will ensure you don’t spoil your fun in the heat are:

  • Maintain cleanliness and hygiene during handling food. Avoid handling food if you are not well yourself, i.e. if you are down with fever or cold etc.
  • Eat only well cooked food or fresh cut salads or fruits.
  • Pack away unused food immediately into airtight containers and refrigerate them.
  • Ensure proper cleaning of working table and utensils after use.
  • Sanitize your hands properly before handling food.
  • Know when to throw food out- never chance on poultry or food that has been left out of the fridge for more than four hours.
  • Don’t overfill your fridge. Leave enough room for the air to circulate for effective cooling.
  • Thaw frozen foods thoroughly before cooking. Read label carefully before use.
  • Keep raw meat/ chicken chilled and away from cooked food. The bacteria from raw meat can get into cooked food causing food poisoning. Use different chopping boards for meat and cooked foods. Wash your hand thoroughly after touching meat.
  • Don’t leave hot foods out to cool before refrigerating. Refrigerate all food as soon steam stops rising. Cool it rapidly by first dipping the container in cool water bath or ice box or by pouring it in shallow containers and store them in fridge.