With the beautiful spring weather, leading into summer, there’s more time to share meals outdoors – and therefore more time to haul food. When it comes to this type of transportation, unfortunately, it’s estimated that one in seven Americans get sick each year from consuming contaminated food, with children more likely to get sick than adults.
The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted many spring and summer gatherings like picnics, of course, but as we return to life as usual, we may need to freshen up on how to buy, prepare and store food safely to prevent foodborne illness.
With this in mind, the following general guidelines relate to the care taken in the selection, cleanliness, preparation and storage of food.
First, shop and evaluate foods carefully:
Avoid swollen or damaged cans and other packaging – they may be contaminated.
Buy all foods only from reputable stores and other sources.
Buy only pasteurized milk and milk products.
Taste or smell “prepared” foods to check that they are acceptable.
Second, be clean:
Do not prepare food if you have open wounds or cuts on your hands or if you are ill.
Always wash your hands before preparing food and remind toddlers to wash before eating.
Take particular care in the preparation of raw meat and poultry and clean all preparation surfaces, such as counters and cutting boards, after use with hot, soapy water.
Third, pay attention to the details of heat and cold: