Summer food safety tips!

Jul 20, 2017

Picnics, barbecues, and cookouts go hand in hand with summer—who doesn’t enjoy a gathering with family and/or friends while digging into your favorite summer food. But, it’s easy to forget that when the temperature rises, so does the chance of getting food poisoning.

Check out how you can stay healthy and safe during the summer months by following these food safety tips:

  1. Keep it clean. That means you should wash your hands, surfaces that your food is on, and the food itself. Wash your hands with soap and water for roughly 20 seconds (try signing happy birthday or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while washing up) before and after handling all food. If you don’t have access to a sink, use an antibacterial hand sanitizer. Clean the surfaces that you cook your food on, or prepare your food, and be sure to rinse your fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  2. Separate raw food from cooked food. You don’t want bacteria from raw meat or seafood to contaminate other foods, surfaces, or utensils. Put cooked meat on a clean plate (don’t use the plate you brought the raw meat out on to grill), and don’t use the same utensils on raw foods that you would on cooked foods. Keep raw meats away from cooked or ready-to-eat foods, and throw away marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat or seafood.
  3. Cook meat thoroughly. This is very important, as cooking your meat to a safe internal temperature destroys harmful bacteria that can make you sick. Don’t depend upon the color of the meat to determine if it’s done, use a food thermometer—145 degrees F for beef, pork and fish; 160 degrees F for hamburgers and ground meat; and 165 degrees F for chicken or turkey.
  4. Keep foods cool. Bacteria grows faster in warmer weather—so, eating foods in left the danger zone (40 degrees F to 140 degrees F) for too long can make people sick. Make sure that you keep raw meat, poultry and seafood chilled (below 40 degrees F) until you’re ready to cook it. And, discard any food that has been left out in the summer sun for more than two hours—or one hour if it’s over 90 degrees out. For coolers, make sure you keep them out of direct sunlight, keep the cooler full of ice, and don’t store your cooler in the trunk of your car if you’re traveling.

Check out this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Get Ready to Grill infographic for more information. Get some more food safety tips from the CDC blog, Avoid Food Poisoning During Summer Picnics.

CDC Get Ready to Grill infographic

Categories: Nutrition, Wellness