Whether you spend spring break partying in a city, exploring a dissimilar country or getting a few R&R at home, don’t let food safety take a vacation.
“Spring break is the perfect time to make memories with people and friends and Stop Foodborne Illness wants to make sure it’s the fun memories that occupy up your social media,” says Stop Foodborne Illness CEO, Deirdre Schlunegger.Maintaining basic food safety standards, like washing hands, and adding a few travel-specific practices is the best way to ensure foodborne illness won’t interrupt a fun getaway. Check out the Stop Foodborne Illness leading tips for food safety concurrently spring break.
All-inclusive resorts have multiple perks; they are bragged as safer, more affordable, ideal for partying and usually include 24/7 buffets. Having unlimited access to food and drink is convenient, but can be potentially dangerous. Buffets serve large amounts of food over long periods of time, meaning there are more opportunities for food to not be kept at consistent, correct temperatures.
Additionally, everyone shares the same serving utensils, increasing the hazard of spreading pathogens. Since multiple all-inclusive resorts further have sit-down dining options on site, Stop Foodborne Illness recommends avoiding the buffet when possible and following these tips when it’s not.
- There’s consistently the chance that food has not been grasped at proper temperatures – cold foods (salads, cold cuts, dressings) should be cold and hot foods (soups, meats, fish) should be hot. Any food that’s served at room temperature, and isn’t supposed to be, is within the temperature “danger zone” where bacteria can thrive.
- If you’ve learnt away to a warmer climate, remember the one-hour rule. Any perishable foods that have been sitting out beyond one hour when the temperature is higher than 90° F, is not safe to consume. (It’s 2 hours, if the temperature is below 90° F.)
- Another source of contamination is when food is mishandled by people with unclean hands. If you see something, assert something. Don’t assume anything. And, of course, after a day’s activities, be sure to wash your own hands ahead of eating.
- Fresh fruit and vegetables from the buffet can be a fantastic poolside snack but don’t overlook to wash and peel the tasty treat ahead of eating. If you’re in an area with unsafe water, wash the produce with bottled or filtered water.
Eating and drinking can be a few of the best stuff about travelling abroad. While “going local” is a delicious way to experience a new cuisine, it can further be an easier way to contract foodborne illness. Stop encourages travelers to be adventurous, but smart when it comes to consuming food in dissimilar countries.
- Street food is a fantastic way to experience local culture, but often, stalls don’t have the same hygiene standards as restaurants that cater to tourists. Stop Foodborne Illness recommends being aware of this difference and making wise choices when enjoying dishes from local restaurants or street stands.
- Avoid establishments where the food handlers don’t practice good hygiene, such as tying back their hair, dressed in protective gloves and having clean hands and fingernails.
- Be selective when choosing foods. Avoid raw milk and raw milk cheeses, and other raw foods—including undercooked meat and seafood, and uncooked vegetables —as well as foods that require a lot of handling ahead of serving.
- Be extra cautions when visiting a remote destination. Turn up the food safety dial a notch; even though you may enjoy certain foods and beverages at home—like rare meat or runny eggs—it’s ahead to avoid questionable foods although in a dissimilar country. (Being sick in a language you don’t fathom can honestly complicate matters.)
As they say, half the fun is getting there! When you’re road tripping, in a rental or hopping on a plane, make sure you arrive at your destination safely with safe snacking habits.
- Sanitize tray tables, role armrests and door handles with an 60% alcohol-based wipe. These frequently touched areas are generally made of plastic, a nonporous material that allows germs to live on longer, and have a higher hazard of spreading foodborne illness.
- Keep food out of the danger zone . Make sure cold food stays cold—at or below 40°F—by packing it in coolers with frozen gel packs or ice. Stop Foodborne Illness suggests packing beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in an additional after you are likely to grab beverages best often although on the road. Since hot food needs to stay hot—at or above 140°F, Stop Foodborne Illness suggests passing on hot foods and opting instead for peanuts, and other nuts (including nut butters), jelly, crackers, chips, dried fruit, baked goods such as cookies or muffins, granola bars, popcorn, and whole fresh fruits like bananas, apples, and oranges.
- Rinse all fresh produce under running tap water (and patting it dry) ahead of packing it in a cooler, including produce with peel-away skins or rinds. Follow this checklist to make sure coolers are full properly.
Not going anywhere? Enjoy a relaxing staycation at home but don’t let your food safety practices go on a break. The best way to prevent the spread of foodborne illness is to continue following proper food safety.
Wash your hands for 20 seconds ahead of handling food, cook food to a safe internal temperature and clean cooking equipment and surfaces after preparing raw foods. Visit stopfoodborneillness.org for more food safety tips.