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Summer Food Safety Tips

Summer Food Safety Tips

Summer-Food-Safety-Tips-2

After a long winter and a late spring, it’s hard to believe it, but summer is on its way; and with it comes warmer weather. As soon as the mercury starts to rise, many people have picnics and cookouts on their mind. Bringing our cooking and eating outdoors introduces a few more risk factors for food borne illness, like inadequate hand washing, improper food handling, and not cooking food thoroughly enough to kill the offending germs. As a result, incidents of food borne illness tend to increase during the summer months.

However, if you keep in mind some basic food safety tips you can enjoy your picnics and cookouts without fear of getting sick, or causing someone else to get sick.

  1. Keep your hands clean. Dirty hands spread germs to food and then to you. Wash your hands often before, during, and after preparing food. Bring fresh water with you for cleaning as well as for drinking. You can also bring hand wipes or sanitizing cloths with you to wash hands or clean food preparation or eating surfaces.
  2. Wash ready-to-eat produce thoroughly before packing it in the cooler. Keep it cold as this prevents germs from growing. Consider packing a separate cooler for beverages since it will usually be opened more frequently as people get their drinks—and let in warmer air as a result.
  3. Watch out for cross-contamination. Keep raw meats separate from ready-to-eat foods. Wrap them securely and place them on the bottom of the cooler to prevent any raw meat juices from coming in contact with other foods. Be sure to wash any dishes that came in contact with raw meat before using them for serving. Better yet—use paper plates!
  4. Cook food to the proper temperature. Bring a thermometer along and check the temperature of your meat, cooking it until it’s cooked through. Don’t guess. Foodsafety.gov has a handy chart you can refer to for proper internal cooking temperatures. Take a look at it here.
  5. Keep warm foods warm and cold foods cold. Avoid the danger zone of 40° F to 140° F. Bacteria love to grow at these temperatures, so cold foods should never be left out longer than two hours; and if the temperature is over 90 degrees outside, decrease that to one hour. Bring along ice on which to put your bowls of cold food. Use chafing dishes to keep hot food hot.
  6. When in doubt, throw it out. If food has been left out too long or looks or smells bad, don’t take a chance–throw it away and get rid of it. Food borne illnesses can be very serious. It’s not worth the chance to eat questionable food.

Picnics and cookouts are lots of fun. Taking a few simple steps can help ensure the food you share with friends and family stays safe. What steps do you take to keep your food safe when you’re eating and cooking outside? Share with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear your ideas!

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Marie Dittmer (38 Posts)

Marie is a registered dietitian with a master of arts in physical education/cardiac rehab. She’s a homeschooling mom of four who enjoys gardening, cooking, reading, and writing about food, nutrition, and health issues.


About Marie Dittmer

Marie is a registered dietitian with a master of arts in physical education/cardiac rehab. She’s a homeschooling mom of four who enjoys gardening, cooking, reading, and writing about food, nutrition, and health issues.

Comments

  1. Great tips, Marie! Everyone needs reminders each year for sure. I’d love to share this on Tuesday’s Tidbits next week with your permission!
    Hope your week is off to a great start. Thanks for sharing this. Tweeted and Stumbled!

  2. I have to say that thinking about “Amish” and food safety in the same sentence was something I thought I would never see! =)

  3. You’re probably right! LOL. All the more important then. 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] from Healthy Ideas Place is sharing some Summer Food Safety Tips (here) with us and now that we’re outdoors so much, I think we can all use the reminders.  […]

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