Chicago is finally experiencing the warm weather of summer. With summer comes celebration, and for a lot of people, food. Experiencing cooking with new foods, going out to new restaurants, or outside barbecues, it's all fun, and we should enjoy our time outside. But with warmer weather and food, it's important to refresh yourself on the correct food preparation to avoid food poisoning. Below is a list of tips to help you eat food and prepare food in the right way to avoid contamination.
When buying food, it's important to pay attention to expiration dates, and the care/packaging of the product. While you hope that food is appropriately cared for in a grocery store, mistakes can be made. Examine your food before buying it. How does the meat look? If you are not comfortable with it at the store, there is no way you will be comfortable with it a couple days later at home.
When packing your grocery cart make sure to separate items appropriately, and especially keep a close eye on your raw products. Mixing raw products and vegetables/other products can cause food poisoning.
Wash your hands!
While this is a simple step, it's extremely common for people to get food poisoning because they aren't careful about food preparation. Always wash hands after touching certain food products. This is also important to do after touching an animal, especially reptiles, turtles, etc.
Also keep hand towels clean and wash them often. This will help to prevent bacteria that could accumulate in the fabric.
Keep cutting boards separate
Keeping your cutting boards clean and using separate boards for raw meat/poultry will help to cut down on contamination.
Cook foods thoroughly
To ensure that your food is okay to eat, cook each product through fully. Check that it's hot and cooked all the way through, and meat isn't pink in the middle.
Be careful in warmer weather
In warmer weather, food contamination from bacteria occurs much faster. Eat food quickly if you are outdoors; do not let it sit in the hot sun. Also, make sure to bring leftovers inside as soon as possible to avoid any contamination.
Store meat on bottom shelf
Keeping meat on the bottom shelf helps to keep other food from contaminating. There is a possibility that your raw meat may drip juice, and it's better to have the juice onto nothing, as opposed to other food products.
Pick restaurants cautiously
While trying out new restaurants can be fun, it's a good idea to do your research. Does the restaurant have good reviews? Has anyone ever experienced having food poisoning after eating there? Check to make sure your food is prepared correctly and do not eat it if not. Don't feel bad about sending it back, and make sure they put it on a fresh plate. In these situations, it's better to be safe than regret it later.
Buffet-style food is a common source for contamination, as keeping the food hot (at the right temperature) is more difficult than when food is prepared specifically for you.
If you question it, don't eat it
Pay attention to red flags. Often people eat things they are uncomfortable with out of kindness, or feel uncomfortable sending back their food. It's your body! Making the mistake of eating food you weren't sure about in the first place could make you extremely sick, and cause numerous problems for you in the long run.
Following these tips and understanding your food should help keep your summer light, fun, and you healthy. If you or a loved one experiences food poisoning due to another, please do not hesitate to contact our Chicago Food Poisoning Attorneys at Nemeroff Law Offices for a free consultation. Understand your rights and call 312.629.8800