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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Chilliwack violent sex offender sentenced for breaching long-term supervision order

18-month term for Kevin Miller amounts to time served for using cannabis while ordered to abstain

COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Tabor Home in Abbotsford

Fraser Health reported on June 17 that resident had tested positive

Fundraiser seeks to buy ‘tiny home’ for Abbotsford woman with severe allergies

Katie Hobson cannot live in regular accommodation due to debilitating health issues

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned

Some Chilliwack residents dealing with water on land and underground

City reminds homeowners to be ready for basement floods as Fraser River and water table rises

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Most Read