*This post contains sponsored links from unsafefoods.com
If your children are like mine, they are so excited that the summer is here. We have water park plans and trips to some of our favorite amusement parks scheduled. We may even stop at a festival or two, which are sure to have plenty of yummy fair goodies, for that mid-afternoon sugar rush. As a mom, self-professed foodie, and a food safety advocate: food is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of our day outside. I know all too well that food and outdoor events can be fraught with bacteria that could make my children sick. As foodborne illnesses are especially at their peak in the summer months, caution is a must to ensure food poisoning is not a buzzkill for your summer holiday fun.
4 Handy Tips to Prevent Food Poisoning
As a parent, you can take several precautions to help prevent your kids (and you) from coming down with the tummy troubles. Here is a handy list of four easy things you can do while still enjoying all of the culinary delights your outdoor event has to offer:
Be on the Lookout.
Food poisoning from mobile food vendors and even restaurants happens most often because of a sick employee. While you wait to order, see if anyone who is making the food seems to be complaining about their stomach or being sick. If so, seek another vendor.
Gloves in Check?
When I talk to health inspectors, many have told me this is a huge pet peeve of theirs. Sometimes a food service worker will take your payment while wearing gloves, and not change them to make your food. Just think about how many people have touched that dollar! Even worse, have they changed that pair at all that day? When in doubt, you can ask the worker to swap out for a new pair of gloves.
Check out the Food Before Your Kids Eat it.
I check everything my kids eat. Food has a “danger zone” between 40°F and 139°F where bacteria grow best. I make sure what should be hot is hot, and what should be cold is cold. If you order a hotdog, and it is lukewarm or room temperature, do not feel bad about sending it back. I personally would rather inconvenience a vendor than spend a night at the emergency room.
Everyone needs to wash their hands. I will not bore you with stats, but the reality is, most people do not wash their hands after using the bathroom. Less wash their hands after touching animals. And sadly, if your hand sanitizer is not at least 60% alcohol content, most likely it won’t kill bad bacteria that causes food poisoning. Handwashing is by far the best practice for fending off disease.
Let’s Quick Talk About Food Poisoning
There is a common misconception that food poisoning happens right away and is the last item eaten. In most cases, food poisoning bugs that have a quick onset are usually less severe, like Norovirus and Staph. However, the scarier food poisoning bacteria, say E. coli, campylobacter, and salmonella, have longer periods needed to incubate in the gut. It may take 2 to 10 days for the symptoms of an E. coli infection to show. As you can imagine, they also take longer to recover from. It may be a good idea to keep a short log of what your children ate during a trip to an amusement park in the off chance of illness.
As always, if you suspect your child has a severe form of food poisoning, urgent medical attention is recommended.
We at UnsafeFoods wish you and your family a very happy and healthy summer!
*MAK did receive compensation for this post.