Picnic foods

Summer Food Safety Tips

How to Keep Your Family Safe from Food-Borne Illness and Grilling Accidents This Season

The warmer months are here, which means picnics, barbecues, and potlucks galore. While these gatherings are an excellent opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends, they can also pose a risk for food-borne illness. Here are some tips from the experts at Quality Care ER to help you keep your food safe this summer.

Keep Hot Foods Hot, Cold Foods Cold

Bacteria thrive in temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, so it’s important to keep hot foods above 140°F and cold foods below 40°F. This is especially important when serving food outdoors, as ambient temperatures can make it difficult to maintain these temperatures. Use an insulated cooler for cold foods, and keep hot foods in a slow cooker or chafing dish.

Be Careful with Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria are transferred from one food to another. This can happen if you use the same cutting board for raw meat and fresh produce or if you don’t correctly clean utensils and surfaces after handling raw meat. To avoid cross-contamination, use separate cutting boards for raw meat and fresh produce, and wash all utensils and surfaces thoroughly with hot, soapy water after they contact raw meat.

Avoid Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is caused by consuming food or drinks that contain harmful bacteria or toxins. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If you experience these symptoms after consuming food or drink, seek medical attention immediately.

To avoid food poisoning, cook all meat, poultry, and fish to the appropriate internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to measure the temperature of meat, poultry, and fish before serving. Additionally, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling raw meat, poultry, or fish.

Prevent Grilling Burns

Grilling is a favorite summer cooking method, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. Thousands of people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries suffered while grilling each year. To avoid burns while grilling, follow these safety tips:

  • Position the grill away from trees, bushes, and other combustible materials.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill.
  • Never leave the grill unattended while it’s on.
  • Wear appropriate clothing while grilling to avoid burns. Long-sleeved shirts and pants made from natural fibers are best.
  • Use tongs or a spatula to turn meat, poultry, and fish on the grill. Never use your hands.
  • Be sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand in case of an emergency.

Emergency Care for the Whole Family This Summer

You can help keep your family safe from food-borne illness and grilling accidents this summer by following these tips. However, accidents can still happen. If someone in your family suffers a minor injury this summer, we can help.

At Quality Care ER, our team of experienced emergency physicians and nurses is here to provide you with the high-quality, compassionate care you deserve. We offer a wide range of services, including urgent care, primary care, imaging, and more. We also have an on-site laboratory for your convenience. Contact us today.