5 Summer Yummies That May Make You Sick
Ah yes. Summer.
The time for picnics, barbeques and just general hanging out while enjoying food, family and fun. However, what starts out as a normal day may end with some surprise emergency room excitement if you’re not careful.
Check out five offenders from picnics and barbeques that may make you barf.
1. FRUIT That fruit salad may look innocent enough, but did you know that a common source of food poisoning is berries like strawberries that become contaminated with germs and cause gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and cramping. Also, be on the lookout for bruised cantaloupe, which can carry high levels of salmonella and be easy transmitted into the melon through bruises or cuts.
2. LETTUCE That yummy green stuff you love on your burgers at cookouts can be…really yucky. Lettuce holds large amounts of dirt and pesticides, so be sure to wash it thoroughly before offering to your guests…even if the package claims it is “prewashed.”
3. MEATS Most of us know about not mixing meat types, not using utensils or plates where raw meat has touched and cooking the meat to proper temperatures. However, did you know that the lunch meat you use for sandwiches has a very high risk of containing Listeria, a fast-growing bacterium causing symptoms like fever, muscle aches, stiff neck and chills? The scary part is that Listeria continues to grow even in the refrigerator. So, keep an eye (or nose) on those lunch meats and chuck them after two weeks.
4. CHEESE Yes, we all know not to eat cheese that has been left in the sun. (I mean, DUH.) However, cheese can also be contaminated with Salmonella or Listeria. If you’re pregnant or have a low immune system, bypass the Blue cheese (and other soft cheeses which have high levels of bacteria).
5. SPROUTS Many people eat sprouts on salads or sandwiches in the summer. Sadly, these crunchy critters have a high risk of contamination. Bacteria can form on the growing sprouts and be transmitted to our food. The FDA recommends that children, elderly people and those with low immune systems don’t eat sprouts...EVER.
Looking for more tips on how to eat healthy during your outdoor parties? The University of Hawaii has put out "Pointers on Keeping Picnic Food Safe."
And--as much as I hate to say it-- on your way out of the park, dump all those leftovers that have been sitting out all day. No one wants norovirus for dessert.