During this time of year it is a common pastime to celebrate the summer by having outdoor barbeques and picnics. Of course, people love to eat and it is extremely important be safe when carrying your picnic basket. One thing that we would like to share with you is that food borne illness is very common and is caused by in-proper handling of food and by the growth of bacteria on food. A fun acronym one could use for the 6 leading factors in bacteria growth in food is “F A T – T O M” which stands for: Food, Acidity, Time, Temperature, Oxygen, and Moisture. The first one “Food” stands for which type of food it is. The type of food could have a lot to do with how quickly the bacteria grows. Also, the type of food could have a huge effect on whether or not the bacteria could cause a food borne illness (like poultry, red meat, and egg-based food are more likely to cause food borne illness if not handled and stored properly). “Acidity” the amount of acid a type of food contains has a huge effect on the growth of bacteria. The more acid a food contains, the less chances for rapid bacteria growth. “Time” the amount of time that food is held in “The Temperature Danger Zone” (40-140 degrees Fahrenheit) will have an impact on how quickly bacteria grows. If food is held in the Temperature Danger Zone for more than 2 hours it may not be safe to eat. That is why it is important to keep food in a cooler or at a cooking temperature as much as possible. “Temperature” and time pretty much go hand-in-hand. Oxygen-the amount of oxygen a food gets will also have an effect on the growth of bacteria. That is why vacuum-sealed items usually stay safe to eat longer than other sealed products. If you keep your packages of food sealed regardless, there will be less of a chance for bacteria to grow. Last but not least is “Moisture.” Some foods are more moist than others and foods with a higher moisture content will allow for rapid bacteria growth. Well, that all sums it up! Keep your food sealed up and in a cooler filled with ice. We don’t want you to take any chances this year and ruin your summer days and picnics by being sick! We want you to eat safely and enjoy yourself!
~Your Friends at the Brooks Law Group.