LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Doctors are seeing cases of food poisoning on the rise this summer, and they say it's because of the heat.
It's a bustling day in the Rivermarket downtown, and it's lunchtime! At one vendor's space in Ottenheimer Hall, the food is fried and he's serving it to hungry visitors.
"Jim? Here ya go. Appreciate it!" says owner/executive chef Travis Meyer.
Meyer owns Cinco Entrees, and he's got fried chicken and other hot foods ready. But as his "ServSafe" certificate requires, he's keeping a close eye on his food. Every step of the way.
"Just keeping things in temperature-control. No cross-contamination and using fresh products is the key," says Meyer, a graduate of Pulaski Tech Culinary program.
Restaurant to residence, the same advice goes for families in their own kitchens. Dr. Dirk Haselow at the Department of Health shares four steps to safe food preparation.
"Clean, you separate, you heat and you chill. So obviously wash your hands, wash vegetables separately from washing meats. Use different cutting boards if you're using cutting boards."
Right now, in the warmer months, bacteria multiplies much quicker, so watch the temperature of the food, but also the temperature outdoors.
Haselow says, "Summer months are always worse than the winter months and that's just because of the heat. Heat makes it more likely for cooling processes to fail. Or food handling processes to be worsened by the heat."
"Keep your cold food cold and your hot food hot." says Meyer.
Taking your lunch? Find room in that lunchbox for an ice pack.
Haselow says, "There's lots of different bacteria and viruses that can end up in food and make us ill. And mayonnaise and milk products tend to, especially if left out, tend to be some of the worst offenders for causing illness. All restaurants should follow some general guidelines on how to prepare and keep food safe."
And Cinco Entrees is just one lunchspot playing by the rules.
Symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting and chills. For more tips, signs and ways to keep yourself safe visit the Department of Health's website.