Authorities are warning residents to take special care in preparing and handling food, as temperatures rise above 40C during the summer. The warning comes as doctors report an increase in food poisoning cases in the UAE, a seasonal trend associated with summer.
An official at the infectious diseases department with the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services told Gulf News that the summer season always saw an increase of food poisoning cases due to various ways. "There are many factors influencing bacteria and toxins in food during the summer," he said.
Dr Juma Bilal Fairuz, director of preventive medicine at the Health Ministry, told Gulf News that washing one’s hands was the most important step in preventing food poisoning. He said the warm and humid conditions during summer allowed more bacteria to survive longer on surfaces and hands.
"Do it while preparing, before eating and after eating food. Even if you use a fork, spoon or knife, it is better to wash your hands in case you touch the food," he said. "And wash your hands after going to the toilet, preferably with soap."
- Wash your hands, especially after using the bathroom and before cooking and eating.
- Wash surfaces when cooking
- Keep raw food separate from cooked food
- Thaw and marinate foods in the refrigerator; if in a hurry, thaw foods under cool running water
- Use foods within expiration dates
- Cook foods until they reach the right temperature: meats and seafood to at least 63C, stuffed fish and ground chicken to 74C, ground beef to 77C and whole poultry and pieces to 82C
- Cook eggs until the egg white and yolk are firm
- Leave cooked food out for more than two hours
- Store perishable foods, like eggs, in the door container
- Keep thawing and refreezing the same food, as each process increases contamination risk