Over a campfire, or over a camp stove, meats are most susceptible to bacteria growth. (Black Press Media file)

From BBQs to camping trips: How to keep food safe in the summer heat

Food specialist Lorraine McIntyre says prepping, cooking, cleaning all factor into food poisoning

Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers are often described as the tastes of summer, but if cooked wrong, they can quickly turn into a bad case of food poisoning.

“Warmer weather allows bacteria to grow faster,” Lorraine McIntyre, a food specialist with the BC Centre for Disease Control told Black Press Media. “Every time the temperature goes over 10 C, bacteria have a chance to grow fast.”

Some bacteria can double every 20 minutes when it’s warm out. That means one bacterium can multiply into 33 million bacteria in just eight hours.

Two kinds of bacteria thrive off warmer temperatures: those that cause foods to spoil and those that cause foodborne illness.

According to Health Canada, one in eight people get food poisoning every year from contaminated foods.

“Bacterial foodborne illnesses include toxin-forming E.coli from undercooked hamburger and salmonella and campylobacter from poultry,” McIntyre said.

“If rice or pasta products are left out too long, bacillus cereus sometimes occurs. Eggs and egg containing products can carry salmonella and staphylococcus. Sauces and soups may contain clostridium perfringens.”

READ MORE: No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

READ MORE: Goldfish crackers recalled over salmonella risk

Contamination can be caused in a number of ways, she said, from the person preparing the meal to how the meal is cooked.

Particular foods, like meat, are more susceptible to contamination when cooking outdoors.

“When talking about temperature issues, how fast you cool something down is important,” McIntyre said. “If you prepare food and don’t eat everything right away, refrigerate or cool it within six hours to 4C or as cold as you can get it. On a camping trip, ice slurries work best to cool food down.”

McIntyre said a common misconception is that boiling or cooking destroys all bacteria.

“Bean or rice dishes and pasta salads that are left too long at warm temperatures may also spoil or, worse, cause foodborne illness,” she said. “This is caused from bacteria that form spores. If the food is stored too long at warm temperatures, they can grow and form a toxin that can make you ill.”

If heading out on a camping trip, McIntyre suggested looking to pickled products, which include vinegar and acids that stop bacteria growth.

Keeping meats separate from fresh foods, especially vegetables and fruits, is also important to avoid cross-contamination.

And when cleaning the dishes, keep the dirty water as far away as possible from where food is stored and prepared.

“To keep flies and other pests away, move away from your site, dig a little hole and pour the used water in the hole and cover it up with dirt.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Shag Creek area under evacuation order, area expanded

93 properties are being told to evacuate immediately

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

UPDATED: Evacuation alerts due to Chutanli Lake Fire expanded; Shag Creek area put on alert

40 properties on alert due to Chutanli Lake Fire; 17 due to Shag Creek

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

VIDEO: B.C. city to host Western Regional Quidditch Championship in 2019

The fictional game in the Harry Potter series has become popular around the world, with 600 athletes in Canada alone

Most Read