NBC10 Helps You Beat the Heat

Why Food-Borne Illnesses Could Rise During Heat Wave

By Chris Cato
|  Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013  |  Updated 7:41 PM EDT
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Why Food-Borne Illnesses Could Rise During Heat Wave

Pa. Department of Agriculture

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As the mercury rises during these hot summer days, so does your chance of getting a food-borne illness.

That's because refrigerated food trucks, that make deliveries to restaurants, markets and stores, sometimes struggle to keep their cool during triple digit heat.

"You have chicken packed in ice that will be thawing over ready-to-eat produce, then we have a potential salmonella problem," said Judy Miller, Pa. Department of Agriculture Food Sanitarian.

State law in Pennsylvania requires food to be kept below 41 degrees. The Department of Agriculture inspects refrigerated trucks, with the help of State Police, but not every truck will be checked.

"If it's an open weigh station, they by law have to pull over and will be checked," said Miller.

But if the weigh station is closed, no inspection is done unless the refrigerated trucks are pulled for a traffic violation by State Police.

Miller recommends that businesses who receive food from a refrigerated truck, should check their deliveries before it reaches consumers.

"It's in their best interest to make sure they have someone checking those deliveries. One food-borne illness outbreak, they might as well close their doors."

Samuels and Son Seafood tells NBC10 they keep their refrigerated trucks at 34 degrees, but say the heat is challenging at times.

"They're mechanical. They do break down at times. We have good leasing companies that will come in and fix them units up real quick," said Tom Carroll, who adds that any compromised food is always thrown away.

 


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