With the arrival of the picnic season, the risk of food poisoning is increasing, thus spoiling the pleasure of summer lovers. In 2016, nearly 1,500 group food poisoning cases were reported in France, affecting approximately 14,000 people, including 3 who died , according to figures from the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance .
The global food economy promotes a production system sometimes thousands of kilometers away from the distribution site, using bulk packaging to simplify food preparation at home and in the restaurant. Meat, poultry and fish can come from huge farms where hundreds of thousands of animals are raised together , increasing the risk that organisms poisoning food will spread widely before being detected. In fact, raw eggs and undercooked meat are not the only things to worry about. Fruits, vegetables, some cereals and all processed products may contain harmful organisms, indicates theNew York Times .
We can protect ourselves by taking a few precautions. Most importantly, keep food hot, and cold food cold . If a food needs to be refrigerated , do not keep it at room temperature longer than the distance from the store to your home, an hour or two. In hot weather or in a vehicle parked in the sun, transport food in a cooler or cooler bag.
The right temperature
Once home, store food safely . Never place raw meat, poultry or fish without a protective film in the refrigerator where they can drip onto other foods, especially cooked foods and fresh fruits and vegetables that can be eaten raw. Take food out of the freezer well in advance so that it can be thawed in the refrigerator or use a microwave oven with defrost function.
- Experts advise against rinsing raw meat, poultry and fish into the sink: this can spread harmful organisms onto surfaces that will later come into contact with raw foods. However, fruits and vegetables should be washed even if you plan to peel or cook them.
- Before preparing to cook, use soap and warm water to wash your hands, under the fingernails and up to the wrists. Use a commercial cleaner or a solution of a teaspoon of bleach in one liter of water to clean the surfaces of the kitchen.
- When preparing food, use separate cutting boards and knives for meat and fish, and for fruits and vegetables.
- Always refrigerate pickled foods, and never use the same marinade on food after cooking or marinating anything else.
- Respect the cooking temperatures of animal products and, when ready, place them on a clean dish.
Finally, if you suspect food poisoning, you can prevent others from getting sick by reporting your problem to the local health unit and the facility where you purchased or eaten food as soon as possible.