Column: Keep foodborne illness off your summer menu

It’s the time of year when many of us enjoy cooking outdoors ­— in parks, campgrounds and back yards.

It’s the time of year when many of us enjoy cooking outdoors ­— in parks, campgrounds and back yards.

This pleasurable summer pastime of casual dining also provides ideal conditions for outbreaks of foodborne illness.

Foodborne illness peaks during the months of May through September because of barbecuing and outdoor eating.

E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter are examples of some of the many bacteria related to handling raw meats and other perishable food items.

That’s why it’s vital to be sure items are refrigerated, well cooked and handled with care.

Outdoor cooks should keep food safety in mind as they are preparing summer feasts.

These four words can help you reduce the risk:

Clean: wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after handling food. Wash all dishes, cutting boards and counters with hot soapy water.

A spray bottle containing 1/2 tsp of chlorine bleach per litre of water can be used to sanitize these items.

Separate: keep raw foods away from cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.

Store raw meat at the bottom of the fridge or cooler to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods. Always use a clean plate when taking cooked meat off the barbecue.

Cook: properly cooking food will kill harmful bacteria. Cook all meat to the appropriate internal temperature — see Health Canada’s Safe Internal Cooking Temperatures chart (http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/safety-salubrite/cook-temperatures-cuisson-eng.php) for more details.

Use a digital food thermometer to measure the inside temperature of cooked meats.

Once cooked, keep hot foods at 60ºC or hotter until ready to serve. Chill: Always thaw meat in the fridge, microwave, or under cold running water —never at room temperature.

Do not let cooked or perishable food sit out in the sun or at room temperature for more than two hours. Cool any leftovers right away.  Finally, keep cold foods cold at 4ºC or lower.

For more tips, go to Interior Health’s website for the Life Begins at 40 degrees brochure or Health Canada’s Summer Food Safety Tips (http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/safety-salubrite/summer-safety-salubrite-ete-eng.php).

Kevin Touchet is a leader of environmental health practice with Interior Health.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Skating rink welcomed

This lake one will not last long but is still worth it

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: New batteries close to industrial level applications

The good news is the hope that this cost should come down each year

Researchers in B.C. say earlier than usual return of bats or dead bats can indicate trouble, such as signs of white-nose syndrome. (Cathy Koot photo)
Public help is essential for monitoring for bat disease

Anyone finding a dead bat is asked to report it to the BC Community Bat Program

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read