Although cookout and picnic season is ending, with warm weather and the loosening of some social distancing restrictions, many of us are venturing outside…and taking our food with us. In addition to measures to keep yourself safe from viral infection, don’t forget to take simple steps to reduce risk of food borne illness. Clearing up some common misconceptions about outdoor food safety may help.
MYTH #1: The last meal I ate is to blame.
Symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach cramps can actually begin anywhere from a few hours to several days after eating contaminated food. Symptoms of infection with Salmonella bacteria, for example, can strike one to three days after infection, while E. coli illness might not show up for eight days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in every six Americans suffers from food poisoning in a given year. While some people experience minor symptoms, there are over 125,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually from food borne illnesses. Older adults, young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems or preexisting conditions are at higher risk.