Have you thought that the uneasiness you felt after an outdoor trip was mere travel fatigue? It could be due to spoiled food.

There are many reasons for food getting spoilt during an outdoor trip, but many people do not realise this, a senior official at the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) told Gulf News yesterday.

“Outdoor picnics during the cool weather these days have not caused any [reported] major food poisoning issues, but the feedback received by us suggests that people do not realise certain minor problems caused by bad food,” said Mohammad Jalal Al Reyaysa, Director of Communication and Community Service at ADFCA.

He said prolonged fatigue and several minor illnesses [like mild headache, nausea etc] after an outdoor trip could be due to spoilt food.

If proper precautions are not taken, people may end up with food-borne illnesses, the official warned.

He cautioned against consuming seasonal plants growing in the desert during a picnic. “They could be poisonous. Some people know about the plants. If you don’t know, just avoid such plants,” Al Reyaysa said.

Using plastic containers or bags not intended for the purpose can cause food poisoning, he said.

The issue with plastic is leaching, the release of the plastic’s chemicals into food or drink, and our ingestion of these chemicals over time. To avoid this, use suitable plastic bags/containers for different types of food, Al Reyaysa said. Using plastic bags meant for cold foods to store warm foods is an avoidable practice, he said.

The Awareness Section of the Authority’s Communication and Community Service division is currently running a campaign involving visits to places where picnic-goers set up tents to educate them on the proper methods of carrying and storing food items.

“We are approaching the big organisations like tour operators also to spread this message,’’ he said.

Taking precautions against fires and carbon monoxide inhalation is also very crucial. People must avoid cooking inside tents as it might cause a fire or carbon monoxide inhalation and subsequent hazards, he said.

Another undesirable practice is keeping raw meats, fruits and vegetables and other cooked foods together, without separating them. Not storing easily perishable foods like raw meat, poultry, fish and egg in an icebox is also a cause for worry, he said.