Food Safety Tips for Summer!

Jul 30, 2018

The summer is fast approaching, when packing up for a summer picnic don’t forget food safety. About 1 in 6 people in the US will become sick from something they ate this year, and a few safety tips can help keep you and your family from being part of that statistic.

Wash your hands. You need to be sure to wash your hands warm soap and water before cooking and eating. After handling meat or other raw products make sure to wash your hands before handling any other products.

Keep raw food away from cooked food. Keep raw meat separate from vegetables and other prepared foods during transport. Don’t forget that bacteria can be transferred on utensils and preparation surfaces such as cutting boards. If you are going to be cooking raw products at the picnic site, bring one set of utensils for raw products and another set for cooked products. Ice that is intended to be used with drinks should be kept in a sealed storage container, not in the cooler with raw meat.

Keep your cooler cold. As a rule of thumb, at least one quarter of the space in your cooler should be dedicated to ice. It is also a good idea to freeze any foods that can be frozen before packing them in the cooler. The cooler should always have a thermometer with it, for a cooler to be safe the food inside needs to stay below 40oF. Keeping coolers closed helps them to better maintain stable and cooler temperatures.

Get it hot. In addition to checking the temperature of the cooler, temperatures of the food need to be checked. Beef burgers should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F and chicken should be cooked to 165°F. Make sure you use a meat thermometer to measure temperature! Grills and fires may differ. Time and the color of the meat are NOT safe or reliable ways to tell if your food is done.

Stay out of the DANGER ZONE! The DANGER ZONE of food temperatures is between 40°F and 140°F. Food that is between the range has the opportunity to let dangerous bacteria grow and harm to those who consume it. Keep foods colder than 40°F or warmer than 140°F. Serve cooked foods when they are still warm, and get left-overs put away on ice.

The same food preparation and handling techniques that are utilized in your home apply when preparing and consuming food away from home.


Sources:

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2011/05/25/cooking-meat-check-new-recommended-temperatures

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/safe-minimum-internal-temperature-chart/ct_index

https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html



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