Foodborne illness: Spend your summer outdoors, not in the bathroom

Summertime means fun in the sun, but it can also bring foodborne illness. (Blech!) No one wants to spend their summer with an upset stomach — or worse. So what can you do to prevent it?

In our latest podcast, the Get Ready team interviews Glenn Morris, director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida, to find out.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 1 in 6 Americans is affected by foodborne illness each year, adding up to roughly 48 million people. Unfortunately, warm summer weather can make it easier for germs to flourish in your food.

“When bacteria are hot, they grow,” Morris says. “And when they grow, they increase the likelihood that they are going to be able to increase illness.”

If you’re planning to have a picnic or family cookout this summer, Morris recommends that you use two separate cutting boards for food prep. You’ll want one for raw food and one for cooked foods and produce, so germs don’t spread. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands!

“This seems very basic,” Morris said. “But a lot of the pathogens that can get onto or into foods are carried by hands. So always wash your hands before you prepare food.

Other tips? Make sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. And ensure that your meats are cooked to a safe temperature. That means that all hamburger meat should be cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit and chicken cooked to at least 165 degrees.

Morris also shares information on the difference between a medium-rare steak and a medium-rare hamburger. Why is one OK to eat while the other is not? Listen to this episode of our Get Ready Report to find out!

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