Best Food Safety Tips When Traveling Abroad
Is there anything that can spoil your weekends? Just imagine… You are lying on the snow-white sand, the sound of the surf “caresses” your ear, you have a fresh coconut in your hand enjoying its tropical taste and… diarrhea, abdominal distension, sickness. Yes, foodborne illnesses can definitely spoil the vacation!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 Americans or 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases each year.
The numbers are amusing because we consume food and water every day but how often do we really think about the quality of the food?
While the time of vacations is coming, I decided to recall you some common rules that will prevent you from foodborne diseases and help not to spend the vacation in a hospital. Let’s take care of our health together!
Food that May Conceal a Danger
According to the aforementioned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are certain groups of products that carry a special risk for Americans traveling abroad:
1) Leafy vegetables cause the biggest number of the foodborne diseases. Namely, 46% of the diseases are caused by norovirus.
2) Meat and poultry cause 29% of all foodborne diseases. Listeria and Salmonella infections that are found in poultry lead to 19% of deaths.
These numbers don’t mean that you shouldn’t eat vegetables, meat, and poultry. It means that you should follow some of the common rules:
1) Avoid consuming undercooked and raw food. Yes, tartare from veal might taste but don’t order it if you aren’t sure in the 100% quality and freshness of the meat.
2) If you cook yourself, always wash eggs. Actually, it’s crucial to wash eggs even in the USA but if you didn’t do it and are going on vacation, don’t forget about washing eggs! There are millions of bacteria on the eggs including Salmonella, Staphylococcus Aureus, Campylobacter, etc.
3) Be cautious about the buffet-style service food. Firstly, it remains at a certain temperature that might not fit the temperature it should be kept at. Secondly, chiefs that serve an evening smorgasbord tend to use the leftover food from breakfast or lunch. Plus, they can use yesterday food. Probably, spoiled one.
4) When you eat fruit and berries served on the smorgasbord, it’s still better to wash them.
5) Enjoy drinking coffee with milk? Then you should ensure that the milk is fresh and it was kept under the right conditions. You can learn how to make coffee without a coffee maker and enjoy the taste of this delicious drink anywhere in the world.
6) Be careful with a street food consuming. While it might look fresh, look at how it was kept during the hot day on the street. Enjoy the hot-dogs in the USA in your favorite proven places.
7) Speaking of the proven places, it would be great to ask your friends (if you have any in that destination) about any worthy places. Check out the forums of the city you are going to. Don’t be too enchanted by the fancy look of the restaurant!
8) If you don’t know any good places at the beginning of your vacation, you can choose dry, packaged and factory sealed food such as canned products, bread, even cheaps. They are usually safe to eat if the production date is alright.
9) Remember that food cooked at high heat is usually safer to eat.
Water Treatment Tips
There are countries where drinking water is a Russian roulette. Still, even if you don’t go to India or Africa, you should know some safety rules about water.
Firstly, you should remember that boiling water is an exact way to kill the bacteria. You should keep the water boiling during one minute.
Some travelers turn to the chemical disinfectants. There are drops, tablets, or packets of powder that include chlorine and iodine chemical. If you decide to purchase them, I would recommend you to choose the Canadian production. Still, remember that chemicals won’t kill all bacteria. Plus, if you are pregnant, you should consult with your doctor before consuming this water. Boiling or filtering is still better.
Some travelers purchase portable filtering tools such as ceramic filters, carbon filters and membrane filters. If you purchase a filter, you should choose the one with a pore size of fewer than 0.5 microns.
The next more or less effective way to clean the water is ultraviolet (UV) light devices that can clean a small portion of water.
One of the best ways is to buy bottled water. During a vacation with my family, we drink bottled water and even use it to cook, make coffee or tea or even to brush the teeth.
Your Personal Hygiene also Matters
It’s impossible to stay healthy when you don’t take care of your own hygiene. Of course, you should wash your hands after every visit to a toilet, before eating, after public transport and other public places.
I always keep a pack of antibacterial wet wipes and a sanitizer in my bag.
The last tip I would give to you is to plan. When you plan a vacation, the places you will visit or shop at, a food you will eat, things to take (including medicaments), you avoid many unpleasant cases.
So, plan your vacation and enjoy it!