For most Americans, Memorial Day officially welcomed warmer days, cool waters and outside picnics; it’s also host to a handful of summer-specific illnesses. The most common summertime illness? Foodborne illness, or food poisoning, which will affect millions of Americans this summer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on past statistics, estimates that 31 direct pathogens will affect over nine million and unspecified pathogens will affect over 38 million people this summer, causing almost one million hospitalizations and more than 1500 deaths.
How can foodborne illness be avoided?
1. Keep things CLEAN
Keep hands clean, washing them with warm, soapy water. Wash before handling any food and after touching raw meat.
Keep surfaces where food is being prepared and served clean.
Keep raw meat separate from other foods.
Use a clean plate for cooked foods (don’t cross contaminate).
Careful not to cross contaminate utensils.
Meat cooked on a grill can be misleading; it can brown fast on the outside, leaving an uncooked core.
Never partially cook meat and transfer. Fully cook meat at the picnic site to avoid bacterial growth.
Promptly refrigerate leftover food or keep cold in a cooler with ice.
Keep cold foods cold, e.g., potato salad, coleslaw, lunch meats, etc.
Food which has not been refrigerated or kept cold, after two hours, is not ideal to keep or eat; it may not be safe.
When in doubt, throw it out!
July is National Picnic Month. Enjoy time with family and friends. Keep it safe: CLEAN, SEPARATE, COOK and CHILL.