Increased risk of food poisoning
A MEMBER of West Wicklow Business Network has highlighted the increased risk of food poisoning created by the heatwave.
Orlagh Deegan, a member of the West Wicklow organisation and Licensed Food Safety Trainer with Food Safety Professionals Association, National Hygiene Partnership and Environmental Health Association has outlined that there were 96 confirmed cases in a 10 day period.
‘There is very little you can do to prevent becoming ill after you have eaten contaminated food, so taking some simple steps and planning your barbecue can save a very unpleasant illness. Ecoli is commonly associated with minced beef in under cooked burgers. Temperature control is key to prevent bacteria to multiplying to unsafe levels,’ Orlagh says.
She outlined that not all cases arise as a result of eating out, and about half occur due to food prepared at home.
‘Many people who get food poisoning blame the last restaurant they ate in but in reality about 50 per cent of cases happen due to food prepared by individuals. Orlagh’s advice is to plan ahead to avoid any unpleasant illness and enjoy your Al
Fresco dining during the heat wave.
Heed the advice from
Met Eireann and the HSE and don’t put yourself at risk,’ she says.
The following tips will help to reduce the risk of food poisoning during the hot weather.
Keep cold food cold. Use a cooler box. If you don’t have ice-packs, frozen bottles of water are a handy substitute. Keep the box closed to keep it cool; Segregate raw meat from other foods to avoid cross contamination and from other ready to eat foods; Unwashed hands are the number one cause of cross-contamination. Before preparing or cooking foods, thoroughly wash your hands; Make sure meats are cooked thoroughly until juices run clear. A kitchen thermometer is a handy and affordable piece of equipment to ensure meats are cooked properly, exceeding a core temperature of 75 degrees is recommended; Make sure that any food left out for longer than two hours is discarded.