Don’t let food-borne illness ruin your summer holiday.
Follow our food safety tips for enjoying the great outdoors.
Food seems to taste better outdoors, especially when you’ve caught or gathered it yourself. But preparing and eating food al fresco presents food safety challenges: there’s often nowhere to wash your hands, refrigeration may be non-existent and cooking methods primitive. And what could be worse than food poisoning away from the comforts of home?
Here are our top food-safety tips if you’re cooking and dining outdoors:
You may be drinking untreated water from lakes and streams. Even if water looks and tastes clean, it could have Giardia – a nasty parasite that can be contracted from drinking or swimming in infected water, or eating food washed with infected water.
The most effective way to kill Giardia is by boiling water for at least three minutes. Chemical treatments – including iodine, chlorine or silver-based treatments – can also be used. Filters are OK (provided they’re fine enough).
Keep fish fresh by putting it on ice in a chilly or fish bin as soon as possible and keep it out of the sun in a cool spot. This is particularly important for species like kahawai, mackerel, tuna or kingfish. These fish produce histamine when they spoil, which can cause serious allergic reactions in people who eat them.
Scale, gut and clean your catch as soon as you can.
Shellfish are a high-risk food because they filter bacteria from contaminated water and are often eaten raw or lightly cooked, which doesn’t always kill harmful pathogens, chemicals or biotoxins.
Young children, frail older people, pregnant women, and anyone with a chronic illness or compromised immune system should avoid shellfish. However, they can be safely enjoyed by most people if you follow a few rules: