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

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Australian firefighters join Telegraph Creek efforts

Regional district extends State of Emergency another week to Aug. 17

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

District extends State of Emergency another week

There’s lots of work ahead, but today was a good day: BC Wildfire Service

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

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

2 girls, hand-drawn map in hand, sneak out of B.C. home for adventure

The pair’s escape has transit police reminding commuters to report unusual behaviour

Ex-B.C. teachers’ union leader among latest pipeline protesters to get jail time

Twelve people have been sentenced for violating court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan terminal

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

B.C. gangster charged after man allegedly beaten with a golf club

Langley man facing aggravated assault charge after incident allegedly involved golf club and machete

‘Treed in perpetuity’: How to log without clearcutting

Thinning treed areas can make properties less vulnerable to fire and make money without clearcutting

Are you Canada’s next Masterchef?

Home cooks looking to follow their cuisine dreams can apply now.

Most Read