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Food Safety Tips for the Summer

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My digestive system is important to me. I take that back – being acutely unaware of my digestive system is important to me. In other words, I’d prefer to eat foods that are both safe and healthy and not suffer for it later on.

With that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to address nutrition from a different angle today. I’m sure most of you will be heading out for at least one barbecue or cookout within the next few weeks, especially with Memorial Day and the ensuing summer holidays fast approaching. The best way to avoid getting sick this summer is by handling your food in as safe a manner as possible – whether you’re at home or at someone else’s event.

Let’s start with your trip to the grocery store. No matter what time of year it is you should be extra careful to bag your fresh meats separately. Double bag them and keep them as far from possible as your fresh fruits and veggies. This simple action will prevent meat juices from leaking into your other foods and will lessen the chance of a bacterial infection having the opportunity to develop.

During the winter months we never think twice about grocery shopping, putting our food in the car, and making a few other stops along they. During the summer months your hot car may quickly turn into a convection oven and, again, may contribute to the growth of bacteria. Run your other errands before you get to the store and consider placing a cooler in your car to keep your perishable foods safe until you get back to the house.

Now, on to those cookouts. The average cookout host puts the food out at the beginning of the event and forgets about it. This is not optimal for guests who arrive later in the day and are faced with a choice – eat food that has been sitting out for 2 hours or starve.

If you’re hosting a cookout (or helping a friend) make sure that cold foods, especially those mixed with mayonnaise, are kept in coolers or on ice. Even cooked meats should be stored in a cool place if they aren’t eaten right away – they can easily be reheated on the grill or in the microwave.

Don’t forget to think about the snacks you’re going to take on your next summer road trip, too.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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