Picnic perils

bbq1The 4th of July seems to be when summer BBQs abound. Grills get fired up and freezers are stocked with popsicles. It’s always great to kick back and relax, but it’s also important to remember to keep foods fresh and safe from nasty things like salmonella and e coli.

If you’re part of what is called an “at-risk” or “vulnerable” population, a foodborne illness can be extremely dangerous. Symptoms—such as vomiting, diarrhea and fever—can intensify and the illness can become life-threatening. Those most at risk are the very young (under 1 year); older adults; the immune-compromised (those whose immune systems are less able to fight off harmful bacteria); and women who are pregnant.

Things to keep in mind while enjoying summer cookouts are:
• Keep raw meat and poultry separate from cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
• Minimize mayonnaise when you’ll be outside for long periods. I have stopped making potato salad with mayo and now use olive oil and lemon juice instead. It keeps much longer.
• Refrigerate any leftovers a.s.a.p., and never eat cooked food that has been out of the refrigerator longer than two hours.

If you’re pregnant, there are several more things you need to know, like avoiding soft cheeses, raw sprouts and unpasteurized juices, and limiting the amount of certain fish you eat. Be sure to read more about foods to avoid or limit during pregnancy on our web site.

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