As the weather gets nicer and the days are longer, there's nothing better than enjoying a meal with your family in the backyard.
But before you fire up the barbecue and drag out the patio furniture, you should know about a small but very serious risk. It's something we normally overlook or ignore, but they can have a big impact on your health: flies.
When one of these annoying bugs lands on your hot dog, you may be grossed out, but not enough to throw it out. What you may not realize is eating something a fly has landed on can expose you to some nasty bacteria.
As if worrying about food poisoning wasn't enough!
According to Dr. Jeff Scott, an insect expert from Cornell University, house flies "are the movers of any disgusting pathogenic microorganism you can think of."
These tiny bugs carry hundreds of human and animal diseases, including dysentery and typhoid. They also host parasites like pin worms and roundworms.
You may think that if you shoo the fly away quickly you won't catch anything, like the "5 second rule," but the bacteria they drag around can linger on your food.
Flies aren't very polite dinner guests either. Because they don't have teeth to chew with, they have a nasty habit of puking digestive enzymes onto your food and slurping it up. If a fly crawls over your meal, you could wind up eating this too.
While most experts say they would still eat a meal touched by a fly, they warn you should be cautious.
Set up some bug traps or repellents near your meal, and think twice about eating food that's been sitting outside for a while.
Remember: flies have twice as much bacteria on them as any cockroach, so if you wouldn't eat food that touched one of those, why would you let a fly land on your plate?
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