That is, if you are not following a few simple steps.
Let’s talk about food poisoning for a moment, shall we? Sure, I know that it is not exactly a pleasant topic, but it happens all too often during summer time so it is a topic that needs to be addressed. In fact, foodborne illness leads to approximately 128,000 hospitalizations and may deaths every single year.
That makes foodborne illness a really serious issue, and it can be avoided by taking some simple precautions. Now is the time to get the word out, as there may be even more celebratory barbecues this month than usual (and therefore even more chances for food poisoning) around the soccer matches going on in Brazil. Consider this. Today the United States men’s national soccer team will play against Ghana in Brazil. How does that relate to food poisoning? The CDC estimates that twice the amount of people (24 million) who watched the U.S. play Ghana in their infamous 2010 match will suffer from foodborne illness this year.
So that harm to your stomach? It may not come from just nerves.
We are a soccer household who has been watching all the games so far. If you have not seen any of them yet, do yourself a favor and catch at least one of the matches. Those athletes are pretty incredible. My family watched that 2010 U.S. versus Ghana match with great trepidation, so this is a statistic that is all too relatable to my family.
In my family we have also been relatively lucky with regards to food poisoning, knowing the tips from the Food Safe Families campaign. None of us wants to be the one who gets sick, nor do we want to be the host of a party where our guests get sick from food poisoning. The Food Safe Families campaign shares important reminders of steps we can take year round to help keep our families safe from food poisoning.
When you light up the grill or head out to a party, first consider these four simple food safety tips from FoodSafety.gov:
Clean first: When preparing party food, make sure to wash down kitchen surfaces and utensils with soap and water. Don’t forget to wash your hands, too, before cooking and before eating. Often when we are out at a party, we forget to wash our hands before eating, and then we go from shaking hands and touching surfaces to picking up food.
Separate food: Cross-contamination occurs when raw meats, like your chicken wings or steaks, touch ready-to-eat foods like veggies. In the refrigerator, place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in containers or sealed plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods. When taking food off the grill or out of the oven, do not put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry.
Cook well: Make sure that foods are cooked to the right temperature by using a food thermometer. That’s the only way to know it’s a safe temperature. For example sausages should be cooked at 160° F and poultry to 165° F. Also, make sure to clean the thermometer thoroughly before each use.
Chill: Chill both raw and prepared foods promptly if not consuming after cooking. Follow the two hour rule: you shouldn’t leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours. If you want to keep them out for guests, try nestling foods in ice to keep them safe.
Want to know more tips? Join us for a Twitter chat on Tuesday, June 17th at 1pm EST— just hours before the anticipated Brazil vs. Mexico game! We’ll be offering some terrific game-day party tips too. Just follow the hashtag #WorldCupChat for the English chat and #WorldCupFiesta for the Spanish version.
No matter who you are rooting for, let’s all be safe while doing it. Go, U.S.A., Go!
Disclosure: Thanks to the Ad Council and FoodSafety.gov for providing these tips and the corresponding infographic.