Sometimes we forget our good hygiene habits, which can lead to food contamination and food poisoning, especially as the weather gets warmer and we have more backyard cookouts. Just like most illnesses, food poisoning is often very preventable. Here are some simple tips to help you avoid getting an unwanted stomach bug from compromised food.
Clean ALL Produce – Don’t just clean the produce you wash and eat, like apples, grapes and berries. You also want to thoroughly wash all your tough-skinned fruits and veggies such as melons, potatoes, grapefruit and squash before cutting them. E.coli, salmonella and other surface contaminants that aren’t washed off, can easily get transferred onto the flesh when the produce is cut and peeled. And, I highly recommend using an easy to mix produce solution of vinegar-water; baking soda-water; or hydrogen peroxide-water when washing and soaking your produce.
2 and 1 Hour Serving Rule – Never let food sit out longer than 2 hours when indoors. Food-borne bacteria doubles every 20 minutes after that. When temperatures are 90 degrees or higher, then you want to toss all leftovers after 1 hour.
Add Onions – Adding onions to your dishes can help you avoid food poisoning. Researchers have pinpointed several powerful antibacterial compounds in onions that actually kill germs on contact.
Wash, Wash, Wash – Washing your hands before you eat cuts your risk of food-borne illness by more than 50%. Either scrub with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds, or massage a dollop of hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol content) thoroughly to all surfaces of your hands before touching and eating any food.
Sip Some Wine – Drinking 4 ounces of red wine will a meal can help reduce your risk of contracting food poisoning. The natural tannic acids and other compounds found in wine, are shown to destroy harmful food-borne bacteria in 20 minutes or less.
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina “The Veggie Goddess” Matthews