Sunday, June 5, 2011

Food safety for traveling kids and adults

I've written about food-safety for family-travel before, but with the recent outbreak of severe food-borne illness in Germany, I am giving some extra thought to safe food-handling practices these days.

In July, I'm traveling with my children to visit family in Sweden in, and cases related to the German outbreak have been diagnosed there as well. Can't say I usually consider food-safety issues when I go to Sweden, but it just goes to show that it's important no matter where you live or travel.

Some basic tips for avoiding food-borne illness, like the e-coli in Germany:


  • Most importantly: Wash your hands before you eat, and before you handle food. Use soap and water, antibacterial wipes, or hand-sanitizing gel (I personally don't travel anywhere without the gel and wipes).
  • Be careful with raw foods. Wash vegetables and fruit thoroughly, or even better: peel them, if you're eating them raw. My kids love fruit and veggies, and it's sometimes a drag to have to be so cautious about this type of food when traveling, but it's better than getting sick.
  • Eat only food that has been thoroughly cooked, and eat it as soon as it has been cooked. Food that has been kept warm for extended periods of time, for example in a buffet, can become contaminated.
  • Avoid eating dairy products if you're not sure that they've been properly refrigerated.
  • Depending on where you're traveling to, it might be worth it to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B, two common food-borne illnesses.
For more information about travel vaccinations for adults and children, you can visit these sites:

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