Avon, Conn. (WTNH) -- Come hungry if you are invited to Cal Miller-Stevens' home for a party.
She mixes fun with food safety in mind.
Stevens knows first hand what it's like to get food poisoning.
"It was a mayonnaise situation, so I'm always tentative eating the salad," she said. "As a result I make sure they are kept on ice and cool."
That's what internist Dr. Julian Nieves at Salud Primary Care in West Hartford recommends. With summer underway he is treating more patients for food poisoning.
"Bacteria tends to grow between 40 degrees and 140 degrees and a good rule of thumb is you don't want to leave anything that is perishable for more than two hours out in warm days," Nieves said.
That's why cold food should stay chilled and hot food should be hot.
Nieves says, "any perishable items, mayo, cream sauce, dairy products, eggs, egg yolks, really they are all in the same category of making sure you maintain them cool."
When preparing food, Nieves says hands should be washed. In case someone did not, use tongs for serving things like potato chips.
On the grille, cook the food at the recommended temperature.
"With ground beef," says Nieves, "you want it at least 160 degrees and you want to make sure it's cooked all the way through."
For the well-known food supplier and party hostess, it's all about balancing the fun with what's on the table.
The Miller Foods co-owner says, "with so much more in the media nowadays, it opens your eyes a bit more and you're more careful and considerate about what could happen."
Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
Be sure to consult your doctor if you suspect you may have it.
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