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Summer is the most dangerous season for food poisoning, as heat can alter the properties of food products and cause them to spoil more quickly. Contrary to popular belief though, it isn’t in tropical locations, restaurants or when consuming store-bought foods that you are at a greater risk. In fact, natural, organic and homemade foods are far more dangerous, as they lack the same preservatives and processing that keeps store-bought foods from spoiling quickly.
There are several precautions you can take in order to avoid getting or inflicting food poisoning on others, from the more basic to the extensively thorough. Today you’ll learn some tips which will definitely improve your food safety.
Cook your meat thoroughly
Summer is the season for picnics and barbeques, so it is especially important to pay attention to how well your meats are cooked in order to keep these occasions enjoyable and safe. We know meats do get that beautiful brown color very easily and quickly on the grill, but brown meat doesn’t equal thoroughly cooked meat, and that is very dangerous in the summer, as uncooked meat houses a lot of bacteria that cause food poisoning. When in doubt, either slice your meat open to check the inside color or use a thermometer to verify the cooking temperature.
Hot & Cold
There is a simple golden rule for avoiding food poisoning, according to experts — hot foods should be kept hot and cold foods should remain in the cold. The way to keep bacteria from forming in perishable foods is to either keep them in the cold — on ice, even — or to heat them up. This helps avoid the temperatures where bacteria multiply and keeps your foods safe.
Marinades are not only great for seasoning your meats and fish and adding a punch of flavor but they are also incredible at keeping bacteria at bay, as they slow their growth. Acidic marinades that use lemon or vinegar are best, but they should be done in the refrigerator, as an added precaution. Also, they shouldn’t be reused after marinating raw meats to avoid contamination.
Check your packaging
Frozen and canned food is usually safe as it is processed and preserved, but sometimes processes fail and packaging is compromised allowing contamination in. Check that your food packages are intact before buying, in order to stay safe. As for cans and jars, beware of any bulges as they may indicate contamination.
And if you’re going to consume canned beverages, be sure to at least disinfect the top before popping it open.
Ice cold, baby
When you take food out for the day, make sure to use adequately big, well-insulated coolers. Pack the foods in the reverse order of when you plan to eat them, and keep them separate from drinks if possible. Try to transport your coolers in an air-conditioned environment instead of the trunk and keep them in the shade until meal time. Finally, try to sanitize your hands before you eat or feed anyone to avoid contaminating the food.