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Tips for traveler food safety from Victoria BC’s Nova Travel Clinic


The most common causes illness in travellers is caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or beverages, see also Travellers Diarrhea. Illnesses are also due to swimming in contaminated water or from close contact with someone else who is ill. Avoid drinking water and swimming from visibly polluted or contaminated streams, lakes, rivers and ponds.

Prevention Methods:

  • Always wash your hands before eating and drinking.
  • Boil it, cook it, peel it or leave it!
  • Eat foods that are well cooked.
  • Never eat leftovers or food (such as at buffets) that has been sitting for an extensive period of time or that is not covered or stored properly.
  • Avoid food sold by street vendors as there is no guarantee of food safety.
  • Do not eat undercooked or raw meat, fish or shellfish
  • Do not eat custards, mousses, mayonnaise, or hollandaise sauce that have not been properly refrigerated.
  • Do not eat raw vegetables, salads, or fruits that cannot be peeled, such as grapes or strawberries. Wash and peel your own fruits and vegetables. Do      not eat the produce if the skin is broken or bruised.
  • Do not eat watermelon as it may have been injected with local water to increase weight.
  • Drink bottled water, bottled drinks, or beverages made with boiled water. Always avoid ice and tap water.
  • Bottled carbonated water is safer than uncarbonated water.
  • Use bottled or boiled water for brushing teeth.
  • Make sure dairy products such as milk, cheese or yogurt, are pasteurized and refrigerated. If in doubt, avoid them.

Methods for disinfecting or purifying water from Health Canada:

Disinfection or Purifying Water from Health Canada

There are a medications that can help prevent certain types of travellers diarrhea. It is important to seek travel health advice prior to departure to learn more about travel risks and how to prevent illness while travelling.  The Nova Travel and Immunization Clinic offers a comprehensive travel consultation personalized to your travel needs, we will also write any prescriptions that you will require and provide immunizations in the same appointment.

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