Extra Food Safety: Avoid Food Poisoning This Summer

August 8, 2013

SaladYou’ve probably seen headlines about the various outbreaks of foodborne illness this summer—some of them are pretty scary (or at least really, really, gross).

So, here’s the basics on avoiding these outbreaks (which seem to happen every summer)!:

-Wash your fruit. This means skipping the party tray and making one yourself. Wash the outside, then peel and cut. Most of the outbreaks related to fruit happen in processing centers where they’re chopped up and made ready-to-eat, so just take an extra 10 minute to get your fruit (or veggies) ready to eat at home!

-Ditto salad. Salad mixes can be a great way to get yourself eating more greens, but there’s a risk for foodborne illness—even if it’s prewashed (in fact, if you have a preexisting health condition/weakened immune system, you are specifically advised to wash your salad regardless of packaging claims).

-Cook everything to safe temperatures (or follow packaging directions). Traditionally this advice has just applied to meat, but with outbreaks in pre made food increasingly common (or at least increasingly making headlines) you need to treat your bag of frozen ravioli, your tv dinner, whatever, the same way. Don’t eat your pre made dinner without heating it, and be careful about potentially contaminating surfaces with the unheated product. While it’s not as big of a deal as raw meat, it falls under the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

-And because accidents happen: keep your gi tract strong. That means supporting it with probiotics, and following any special diet you may need (gluten, lactose, etc. can cause inflammation and chronic problems if you cheat).

Do you live in one of the states that’s had food safety problems this summer?

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