Summer Means Fun, Sun And The Danger of Food Poisoning


Friday, July 30th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


For many families, summer is the season to travel, camp out or cook out. Warm weather and good food are the perfect ingredients for a great time outdoors. However, it doesn't always turn out that way. Improper handling of food and other simple mistakes often lead to food poisoning. A number of your favorite picnic foods can cause problems. "When you are talking about food contamination, you are talking basically about meats, dairy products. Any creams, even cream pies can have culprits in there that can go bad and cause food poisoning," says Melissa Hooper, St. John Hospital dietician.

Here are some simple but important tips to help ensure a healthy summer. Hooper says common mistakes like using the same plates and utensils on raw meat and later on the cooked meat can cause food contamination. Ignoring recommendations to cook all meat well is also a big mistake. Always keep your salads and tasty deviled eggs on ice and do not leave out more than one hour.

Doctors at Omni South Medical Center see the results of eating contaminated food. Many of their patients contract food poisoning camping out or eating foods in foreign countries. "The bottom line is all your fruit needs to be washed, all your water needs to be bottled," says Dr. Joe Nicholson, family physician. Dr. Nicholson says if you do get sick, the symptoms will appear within hours. Primary core symptoms include stomach discomfort with diarrhea that can be bloody or watery, along with nausea and vomiting.

The Centers for Disease Control reports most cases of food poisoning can be prevented by using common sense. They say America has one of the safest food supplies in the world, but consumers must do their part in order to enjoy a healthy variety of summer foods. For more information on food poisoning you can contact the Tulsa City County Health Department's consumer protection division at (918) 595-4301.