Nothing can put a damper on your July 4th barbecue like rain—except maybe food safety experts, some of whom give USA Today pointers on how to avoid celebrations that end with you running for the bathroom. Doug Powell of the aptly-named barfblog.com starts with a few foods he would never eat:
- Sprouts: They can carry salmonella, listeria, and E. coli, and require warm moisture to grow—just like bacteria.
- Raw shellfish: No matter how fancy the restaurant, don’t risk it. Why? Raw waste is in the water they call home.
- Raw milk: Sure, people say unpasteurized milk is healthy and boosts the immune system. But the CDC says it also contains salmonella, listeria, campylobacter, and brucella.
And a few general tips:
- Take your meat’s temperature: The trick is to insert the thermometer in sideways, and you’ll want to hit a balmy 160 degrees. For fans of medium-rare burgers, Food Safety News has a not-so-gentle reminder about the dangers of salmonella.
- Don’t trust sliced cantaloupes: The melon’s soft, rough skin love bacteria and washing doesn’t improve matters. And bacteria on the rind can get on the yummy interior when the melon is cut. The solution? Store sliced melon in the fridge.
- Stay cool: Keep your picnic foods in a cooler, not in the summer sun.
- Be friends with mayo: It contains pasteurized eggs and lots of vinegar to keep bacteria at bay. The homemade version is riskier.
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