Summer is the season for outdoor fun—and that often includes great cookouts and picnics! Unfortunately, nobody will have a good time if they get food poisoning from undercooked hamburgers or burn injuries from improperly using a grill. With attention to grill safety and proper food handling and preparation, parents can ensure a safe and healthy cookout for the whole family.
When families are heading outdoors for camping, lunch at the park, or a late afternoon barbecue, they need to be especially careful when handling perishable foods. Food-borne illnesses—commonly known as food poisoning—occur when bacteria enter the gastrointestinal tract, causing nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. These illnesses are more common during hot weather months when bacteria and other pathogens multiply quickly. Children are among those at highest risk for serious illness from food poisoning.
The Partnership for Food Safety Education, a coalition of industry, government, and consumer groups, offers the following tips in its national consumer education campaign Fight BAC!
Keep it Clean
Parents and children can cut down significantly on food-borne illnesses by washing hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling food. Try singing Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands (to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat) with your kids to be sure they're really getting clean.
Prepare for picnics and camping where you may not have a clean water source. Bring water and pack hand sanitizer, disposable wipes, or towelettes for hands and anti-bacterial wipes and paper towels to clean surfaces.
Lastly, it's important that parents wash fruits and vegetables—particularly those that will be eaten raw—before serving them.