OTTAWA, July 7, 2014 /CNW/ -
There's nothing like a fresh salad in the summer or a juicy watermelon
to refresh you on a hot day. Whether you're camping or having a picnic
or a barbecue, fresh produce is often part of an outdoor summer meal.
But did you know that food poisoning from fresh produce tends to
increase in the warmer months? That's because harmful bacteria can grow
in as little as two hours when produce is not kept refrigerated or
properly chilled when eating outdoors.
What you should do
Lower your risk of food poisoning by following these food safety steps when handing and preparing your fresh produce:
Step One - Clean:
Before handling your produce, always wash your hands with warm soapy
water for at least 20 seconds. In most cases, antibacterial soap is not
necessary for safe and effective hand hygiene.
Frequently wash surfaces where you are preparing your produce to avoid
the spread of bacteria.
No water nearby? Alcohol-based hand cleansers are useful when soap and
water are not available. If your hands are visibly soiled, use
towelettes to clean your hands, and then use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Disinfectant wipes can be used to clean surfaces and utensils.
Remove and throw away any damaged portions of fresh produce. Always
wash raw fruits and vegetables with clean running water! Use a
vegetable brush on produce that has a firm skin such as carrots and
melons. You cannot tell whether food is carrying harmful bacteria by
the way it looks, smells or tastes.
If you are preparing your salads away from home where clean drinking
water is not readily available, wash your fruits and vegetables at home
first. While camping, you can use commercially bottled drinking water
to wash your fruits and vegetables.
Wash all plates, utensils and cutting boards that touched or held raw
meat, poultry, fish or seafood before using them again for other foods,
including fruits and vegetables.
Step Two - Separate:
Keep your produce separate from raw (uncooked) meats. When you pack a
cooler for an outing, it is important to keep your raw meats separate
from your fresh produce and other ready-to eat foods. If possible, use
a separate cooler for your raw meats such as hamburger patties,
poultry, fish and seafood. If this isn't possible, be sure to wrap raw
meats securely and put them on the bottom of the cooler to prevent raw
juices from dripping onto other foods.
Step Three - Chill:
Keep your produce cold!
When outdoors, perishable foods that are normally in the refrigerator,
such as produce, must be kept in an insulated cooler with freezer packs
or blocks of ice to keep the temperature at 4o C (40o F) until ready to serve.
Place leftovers salads back in the cooler as soon as you are finished
eating. On hot summer days, don't keep food unrefrigerated for more
than one hour.
Keep coolers out of direct sunlight and avoid opening them too often.
Ideally, use separate coolers for drinks since these are opened often.
There is one simple rule: When in doubt, throw it out!
What else can you do?
Learn about the symptoms of foodborne illness. The most common symptoms
include: stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever and
headaches. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe.
For more information
Stay connected with Health Canada and receive the latest advisories and
product recalls using social media tools.
SOURCE: Health Canada
For further information:
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