We all love a hot summer; still, soaring temperatures increase the risk of becoming infected with a foodborne illness.
Here are a few shopping tips to help keep food purchases safe from harmful bacteria and reduce the risk of contracting a foodborne illness:
– make the grocery stop the last errand before head home;
– consider using a hand sanitizer before and after pushing the grocery cart;
– take a cooler or an insultatedinsulated bag with a frozen pack in the car to carry meat, fish, dairy, and fresh produce home from the store, especially in hot weather;
– consider carrying groceries in an air-conditioned car, rather than in a hot trunk;
– choose fruits and vegetables with the fewest cuts and bruises. Bacteria can thrive in such damage spots;
– despite the temptation, avoid sampling unwashed fruits or vegetables;
– keep reuseable grocery bags clean;
– shop often to avoid overstuffing the refrigerator. Cold air (4°C or 40°F or colder) needs to circulate above and beneath food to keep it safe;
– separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods in the shopping cart, in grocery bags, and again in the refrigerator. Despite efforts to reduce plastic, a small plastic bag inside a reusable bag is a smart choice to reduce the risk of meat, fish or poultry juices contaminating other food; and
For more tips on food safety visit: www.canfightbac.org.
Mary Carver, P.H.Ec., is an Ottawa-based Professional Home Economist and a member of the Ontario Home Economics Association.