Summer Food Safety
Summer is the perfect time to get outside with friends and family and fire up the grill for some delicious eats. I’m already craving the hamburgers, steak, hot dogs, fresh veggies, and fruit that’ll be at my family’s 4th of July party this weekend! Most of the time, nothing bad happens. But on occasion, there is a disturbance in the force, and your bowels may be the unwilling recipient of the terror known as food poisoning.
Every year, the US government estimates around 48 million people get food poisoning - which works out to about 1 in 6 people. I’m not saying you should look around and start counting to see if you’re the next victim, but if there were no way to prevent food-borne illness, I would definitely do the math at every summer cookout.
If you’ve never had food poisoning, congratulations! I hope you never have to suffer through it.
I asked some friends to describe their experiences for anyone who’s lucky enough to have not had firsthand encounters.
Scott had a hamburger that had sat out too long before it was served to him at a restaurant. He said his case was so severe, that he thought he might die. “I could feel the life force draining from my body,” he said. Thankfully he recovered after 2 days.
Jake was on a fishing trip. But it wasn’t the fish that made his insides want to be on the outside. It was improperly refrigerated hot dogs. He was betrayed by America’s favorite summertime staple!
Gary said he ate a beef sandwich that must have been undercooked. “It was like a scene from the Exorcist. It was so bad, I had to trash the clothes I was wearing.”
The temperature of the food is the common culprit in these stories, but it’s not the only thing to consider when preparing and serving food. So how do we keep our stomachs safe? Below I’ve made a handy reference for your summer cookouts based on information from foodsafety.gov and cdc.gov. Feel free to save and share!