Tips to Prevent Food Poisoning This Summer

Summer is a great time to get together with friends and family, and this usually involves food. Considering that 1 in 6 people in the United States gets sick from foodborne diseases, it’s a good idea to take extra steps to keep yourself and others safe.

If you want to enjoy summer and beyond, there are a few ways to significantly lower your risks for food poisoning. Here at Gulf West Medical Associates, board-certified internal medicine specialist Dr. Rajesh Dave and our team are big believers in preventive health care, so we’re focusing on one health issue that’s well within your power to avoid.

Keep it clean

The recent pandemic has reminded us about the value of keeping germs away, and this is one practice that we should continue, especially with food. To avoid food poisoning, you should:

Keeping your kitchen as clean and as bacteria-free as possible is an important step in avoiding food poisoning.

Watch the water in foreign countries

If you’re traveling to foreign countries where you’ve been advised to steer clear of tap water, be sure to use bottled water at all times, including brushing your teeth. Be wary of ice cubes in your drinks and ask if they were made with water that’s safe for you.

Use treated (bottled) water to rinse and clean fruits and veggies before eating them. You can also purchase a fruit and vegetable disinfectant for an extra layer of protection. 

Beware of overheating

Temps can certainly climb here in Florida, so ensure certain foods don’t heat up too much. For example, if you go grocery shopping, head home directly afterward. Leaving meats, fish, and dairy products to heat up in your car can encourage potentially dangerous bacteria.

Keep foods separate

A great way to avoid food poisoning is to avoid cross-contamination. For example, if you’re preparing chicken, make sure that you thoroughly clean the cutting board afterward before placing any other food on that surface.

You should also keep certain foods away from each other — don’t let raw chicken mingle with ready-to-eat foods.

Cook to the right temperature

Another great way to eliminate harmful bacteria in many foods is to cook them properly. Arm yourself with a cooking thermometer, and be sure to cook meats to the desired safe internal temperature.

Defrost and marinate in the fridge

When you need to defrost frozen meats or fish, or you want to marinate these same items, do so in your refrigerator and not on the counter at room temperature. As a rule of thumb, bacteria dislike the cold, so be sure that raw meat and fish spend most of their time in the fridge or freezer until it’s time to cook them.

Preventing food poisoning isn’t difficult if you take a few precautionary steps and pay closer attention to your food handling. If you have more questions about avoiding food poisoning, we invite you to call our office or book an appointment online.

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