Top Tips For Avoiding Food Poisoning During Your Holiday Abroad
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Here are my top tips for avoiding food poisoning, both in the UK and abroad:
- Burgers and sausages MUST be cooked throughout. Reported instances of food poisoning almost double in the UK during the summer months, suggesting a number of problems are caused by incorrect storage and cooking of food. Don't always blame your friendly restaurant or takeaway around the corner.
- Never eat warmed or microwaved leftover rice after 24 hours, regardless of whether you stored the rice in the fridge. Rice can develop bacteria that will withstand microwaving and heating. If you do eat leftover rice, make sure it is refrigerated and cooled quickly after cooking and observe the 24-hour limit.
When you are abroad:
- At a barbeque, try to avoid any mayonnaise-based salads which have been left out unrefrigerated or left standing in the sun.
- Beware of buffet food. Check to see that hot food is being kept hot and not just lukewarm. See above for problems with rice.
- Salads are also a possible problem if they are not fresh or washed with contaminated water.
- In countries with high incidences of food poisoning, eat only fruit and vegetables that are cooked or can be peeled.
- Beware of certain salad dressings such as Hollandaise, Bearnaise and other sauces which contain raw egg, or meringue. Salmonella is most commonly found on chicken and poultry products. In fact, the USA believes 1 in every 4 chickens and 1 in every 20,000 eggs in the U.S. is contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella symptoms can be moderate to severe and include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, chills, fever and vomiting.
The best way to prevent Salmonella poisoning is to use hot heat. Be sure to cook chicken at an internal temperature of at least 165 F (74 C). Use a meat thermometer to ensure the poultry is cooked all the way through and never place cooked chicken back onto a plate that held raw chicken.
- Trust your senses! Above all, if after following through with these precautions the food doesn't taste right or makes you nauseous, stop eating and (politely) take it out of your mouth.
- Drink only bottled water, even for brushing your teeth. Sniff your water before you drink it, you would be surprised at the number of clients who tell me they have taken a big swig of apparently safe bottled water - only to find it smells of sewage. Some resorts bottle their own water straight from the tap and without filtering it first. Use common sense.
- Buying food from a local outdoor vendor may make you feel as adventurous as Michael Palin, but your UK stomach is not conditioned to withstand local bugs and microbes. If you do feel adventurous, try to stick to deep fried or properly fried food in order to avoid food poisoning from undercooked and contaminated foods.
- Infectious diarrhoea can be prevented. The most important way to avoid diarrhoea is to avoid coming into contact with infectious agents that can cause it. This means that good hand washing and hygiene are very important.
- Check whether the area you are travelling to has any vaccination recommendations, such as Hepatitis. Make sure you make an appointment with your GP to discuss any vaccination at least 4 weeks before you travel.
- Avoid ice made with tap water.
I wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday!
Solicitor - Claims Abroad Team.
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