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Sometimes there’s nothing better than sitting back and tucking into a tub of your favourite ice cream – especially at the end of a hot summer’s day.
But it turns out the sweet treat could pose a serious threat to your health, if you don’t take certain precautions.
Experts have been explaining that ice cream is actually one of the lesser-known causes of food poisoning, and can be just as bad for you as eating undercooked BBQ food.
Amreen Bashir, a Lecturer in Biomedical Science at Aston University, has spoken out about the potential dangers of the stuff.
Bashir told theconversation.com that around one million people are affected by food-borne diseases in the UK every year.
And the risk is especially high when going on summer picnics or having a BBQ as these remove the safety provided by a kitchen.
However a food that can make you just as sick as undercooked BBQ grub is ice cream – but it turns out many people don’t know this.
She said: “Aside from the well known risks of diabetes and obesity, ice cream really does have the potential to make you very sick.
“In 2015, five people were hospitalised and three died after eating ice cream that had been contaminated by Listeria in Topeka, Kansas.”
She went on to reveal that the most common mistake people make with ice cream at home is refreezing a tub that has already started to melt.
“Ice cream can also pose a danger after purchase if it has melted and then been refrozen,” the expert continued.
“This often happens when it is taken from the freezer, left out to thaw and then returned to the freezer before being taken out again to eat later.
“Ice cream melts fairly rapidly at room temperature and the milky, sugary, liquid concoction is a perfect petri dish for bacteria like Listeria, essentially the second time you dig into the tub.”
But that’s not all.
Another mistake people make with their ice cream is to double dip their spoon.
As well as being inconsiderate to other people in your house, Bashir says a dirty spoon is also “an invitation to every nasty bug nearby”.
Those who opt to try making their own ice cream can also be caught out by some of the ingredients.
Many online recipes call for raw eggs to be used in the base – which could lead you to suffer with Salmonella poisoning.
Commercially manufactured ice cream is often made using pasteurised eggs, so Amreen recommends making ice cream with pasteurised milk and cream and omitting egg to stay on the safe side.
However ice cream isn’t the only frozen food to have been linked to listeria outbreaks.
This time last year more than 50 frozen products were recalled by supermarkets such as Tesco and Aldi due to nine deaths caused by a fatal outbreak of listeriosis linked to frozen sweetcorn.