Health Watch: Summer's End: Spoiled Food

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about the end of the summer holiday season that’s traditionally associated with Labor Day. Whether you’re packing a Labor Day picnic or a school lunch, you need to be careful about how you handle food in hot weather.

Food spoils more quickly in warm weather. The heat provides an ideal environment for the growth of salmonella, a major cause of food poisoning. Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, a toxicologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says being smart about how you buy, store, prepare and serve food is the best way to prevent food poisoning. Cold cuts, dairy products and cooked meats shouldn’t be kept out for more than an hour. For picnics and school lunches that won’t be refrigerated, keep these foods chilled in a cooler. Wash your hands, preparation surfaces and containers thoroughly before cooking or packing food. Pack some hand sanitizer or hand wipes in picnic baskets and lunch boxes for use before eating.     

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August 2010


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