As temperatures spike so do the number of food poisoning cases advises Food Safety Professional Orlagh Deegan.
Cases of eColi have tripled and on Wednesday the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre reported 96 confirmed cases in a 10 day period. Met Eireann have reported continued high temperatures and there is a Yellow weather warning in place.
There is very little you can do to prevent becoming ill after you have eaten contaminated food, so taking some simple steps and planning your BBQ can save a very unpleasant illness. Ecoli is commonly associated with minced beef in under cooked burgers.
Temperature control is key to prevent bacteria to multiplying to unsafe levels. Here are some of Orlagh’s tips to avoid food poisoning.
• Keep cold food cold. Use a cooler box. If you don’t have ice-packs, frozen bottles of water are a handy substitute. Keep the box closed to keep it cool.
• Segregate raw meat from other foods to avoid cross contamination. from other ready to eat.
• Unwashed hands are the number one cause of cross contamination. Before preparing or cooking any foods, thoroughly wash your hands.
• Make sure meats are cooked thoroughly until juices run clear. A kitchen thermometer is a handy and affordable piece of equipment to ensure meats are cooked properly, exceeding a core temperature of 75degrees is recommended.
• Make sure that any food left out for longer than 2 hours is discarded.
Many people who get food poisoning blame the last restaurant they ate in but in reality about 50% of cases happen due to food prepared by individuals. Orlagh’s advice is to plan ahead to avoid any unpleasant illness and enjoy your Al Fresco dining during the heat wave. Heed the advice from Met Eireann and the HSE and don’t put yourself at risk.
Orlagh Deegan is a Licenced Food Safety Trainer (NHP, EHAI, FSPA) at www.choicetraining.ie and member of the Food Safety Professionals Association.
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