CALIFORNIA: Keep bacteria off the menu
Posted: May 6th, 2009 - 10:44am
Thinking about that slab of tuna just about makes Che Perez's stomach turn. The 40-year-old Sacramento Web designer remembers a scorching July day many summers ago and a barbecue at his cousin's house.
The cookout was more like ground zero for gastrointestinal distress.
"It was a good 20-minute drive to the house, and even with the air conditioner on, the sun was beating down on my fresh tuna," says Perez. "When I got there, I just threw the fish on the barbecue and cooked it medium, or medium-rare. It was delicious, but about 30 minutes later I started throwing up violently."
We'll spare the rest of the gory details, but let's just say Perez learned his lesson: Keep your fresh fish on ice when driving to a cookout.
These sorts of food-safety reminders are in order as the outdoor grilling season kicks into gear. And Sacramento is a city that loves its outdoor cookouts. Perez is the kind of guy who grills two to three days a week, rain or shine.
But you've got to be careful behind that barbecue grill or in the kitchen. Food-safety experts have found that one in four people gets sick each year from a foodborne illness. The effects can sometimes turn deadly. Ingest a strain of E. coli O157:H7, found in contaminated produce, ground beef and other animal products, and the result could be kidney failure or death.