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

Delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

DriveBC reminding travellers the area is an active wildfire zone and warning of fallen debris.

Kootenay fires grow — more evacuation alerts

Syringa fire prompts evacuation alerts plus HWY 3 closure and U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

UPDATE: Fire forces closures and delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

Motorists should detour using Kootenay Lake ferry

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Lightning blamed for most recent regional fires

Southeast Fire Centre says 90 per cent of the 342 fires recently reported are lightning-caused

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Most Read