No one likes to become ill, particularly not when enjoying a well-earned vacation. Unfortunately, food poisoning is one of the most common illnesses which strike travellers while they are away. Before you travel, make sure you are covered for health care abroad by completing your European health card renewal application. There are some simple steps you can take to avoid becoming ill when you are on vacation.
Wash Your Hands Often
It goes without saying that you should wash your hands often whenever you are preparing food, particularly if you are preparing raw meat alongside other ingredients. Keeping these ingredients separate and washing your hands will prevent cross-contamination which can cause food poisoning. It is a good idea to get into the habit of washing your hands as soon as you come inside.
Defrost Food Safely
It can be tempting to leave food defrosting on the kitchen counter when you have forgotten to take it out of the freezer earlier that day. But it is simply not worth the risk. You should always put your food out to defrost in the fridge, where it will be kept at a safe temperature to avoid the growth of bacteria. If you are using the microwave defrost setting, be sure to cook the food immediately afterwards.
Throw Questionable Food Away
If you’re not sure whether something is safe to eat, it is best to throw it away rather than risk your health. Tell-tale signs include food smelling off or looking an unappetising colour. However, you can’t always tell by your senses, so if you are in doubt about how a food item has been stored it is better not to risk it. Food that has been stored at room temperature could contain bacteria that won’t be destroyed by cooking it.
Avoid Eating at Buffets
Buffets can be very tempting, particularly when you are on an all-inclusive holiday, but you can’t be sure if the food is freshly prepared. Sometimes when food has been prepared in large quantities it is left to sit in containers for hours before serving, which allows bacteria to grow. When you are on holiday, there is also a risk of salads being washed in water which your system is not used to. This can make you unwell.
Make Sure Food is Cooked Properly
Sometimes you are in a hurry and you might feel like you don’t have time to check whether your food is cooked all the way through before you eat it. However, this is a mistake that can make you very unwell. It is important to check that food is cooked all the way through, particularly meat and chicken, and make sure that it has heated to the right temperature to kill all bacteria. The best way to check your food is cooked properly is to use a food thermometer.
Keep Your Kitchen Clean
Make sure you clean your food preparation equipment thoroughly after each use. It is also important to use disinfectant on surfaces that are used for food preparation on a regular basis.