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Preparing for summer sizzling

July 24, 2013

Dear editor:

Warm weather and sunny skies have many Nova Scotians planning vacations, road trips, beach outings, and barbeque get-togethers.  Grilling can be a fun and social experience and is a cooler option to cooking inside. To keep you and your family safe from food related illness it’s important to prepare your meals in a safe way.

There are easy ways to help ensure your meal preparation is consistent with safe food practices. Keep everything clean by washing hands and surfaces often, refrigerate promptly, don't cross-contaminate and cook to proper temperatures.

If you eat undercooked ground beef it may result in a type of food poisoning referred to as E. coli. You can minimize risks by ensuring the safe handling and cooking of raw ground beef.

Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling any raw food, use hot soapy water to clean all surfaces that come in contact with raw meat, make burger patties thin so that they cook all the way through, and pre-heat the gas barbeque before cooking. If you’re using a charcoal barbeque wait until it is glowing red before starting to cook.

If you’re packing a picnic or preparing snacks, use Canada’s Food Guide to determine which foods are healthy choices. Prepare healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, veggies and low-fat cheese, yogurt, popcorn and low-fat crackers with peanut butter.

Doctors in the province remind all Nova Scotians that safe food preparation and cooking is important to ensuring a safe and healthy summer. Remember to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water and practice sun-safety at all times.


Mike Fleming, BSc, MD, CCFP, FCFP