Be Careful While Camping This Summer
Jandals, the beach, barbecues and camping are all well-loved features of the quintessential Kiwi summer. However, if you are heading away these holidays, here are some things you need to remember around food safety and hand hygiene.
"When people go camping, they usually barbecue which brings potential for food poisoning; they are also living in close proximity to one another and often do not have adequate refrigeration capacity or readily available hand washing facilities," said Population Health Service's Health Protection Unit manager Trent Fowles.
"Camping can be great fun, but with it comes some hygiene risks. The last thing you want on your camping trip these holidays is to contract food poisoning or vomiting and diarrhoea bugs, then passing them on to your friends and family."
Summer is a good time to remember rules that can prevent the majority of food poisoning incidences, he said. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority calls for vigilance with cooking hygiene this summer, citing the four 'Cs' - clean, cook, cover, chill - as a good start to summer food safety.
Clean - keep all food contact areas and utensils clean. Remember to wipe away any meat juices and always use clean chopping boards. Keep raw meats well away from ready-to-eat foods. Keep pets away from BBQs. Cook - remember to cook meats well. Cook until the juices run clear. Cover - keep foods covered and away from any likely contamination. Keep foods away from flies.
Chill - if cooking at home, keep foods refrigerated until ready to cook or serve. Use chilli bins and ice packs to keep foods cold if there is not a fridge available, or limited space. You may like to take a chilli bin with you just in case. Refrigerate and cover leftovers to keep them safe to eat. Do not leave foods out uncovered and at room temperatures for more than two hours. If in doubt - throw it out. And remember; always wash your hands before cooking or preparing foods, but more importantly, that hand washing is not only required around food.
"In fact, thorough hand washing is the most effective way to stop the spread of infectious disease," said Mr Fowles.
"Use the 20+20 rule: wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and hot water and dry for 20 seconds with a clean, dry towel or paper towel.
"If someone does have symptoms of being unwell, they should never take part in preparing food, and hand washing is even more important for them.
"There are some great hand-sanitising products available to take with you on your camping trip. Of course, these tips don't only apply to campers, or over summer for that matter, but are particularly important for this time of year to ensure a bug-free holiday."