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Tips to Prevent Food Poisoning in Summer Months

Posted: Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 6:23 am
Author: KCII News - Sam McIntosh

It’s easy to look forward to the summer months of grilling out and carnival fair foods, but it’s also a time to be wary of food poisoning.

Washington County Public Health Nurse Lynn Fisher says summer is the most common time to get food poisoning, and she describes how foodborne illnesses form, “It’s from microbes in food, and the microbes can get in food in several different ways. It can be something in the processing plant, so it could actually be at the slaughterhouse or where vegetables are being washed and cleaned. It could be on workers’ hands, the workers at the plant, or it can be in our homes, in our kitchens. That’s typical places where food gets contaminated with microbes.”

There are ways to prevent food poisoning in the home, Fisher advises, “One of the main things to do is curb co-mingling of foods, especially raw foods co-mingling with other foods is where food gets contaminated. So raw meat juices can spread to other foods and spread microbes. Using the same knife, the same cutting board, same kitchen utensils can also cross-contaminate with microbes.”

Fisher also points out that fully cooked food can cross-contaminate with raw foods too. Another important aspect of preventing food poisoning is containing leftovers. Fisher says meat and most other foods should be refrigerated within two hours after being cooked. Those hosting a picnic should be careful not to leave food sitting out for too long, especially on a hot day. It’s important to also use a thermometer when cooking meat instead of just judging by looks because heat kills microbes. The Iowa Department of Public Health has been seeking ways to better track foodborne illness, with a hotline to call if you are experiencing symptoms of food poisoning. The number to call to report food poisoning is 844-IOW-ASIC or 844-469-2742.