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Summer Refresher: Food Safety Advice

Illustration With summer approaching many Americans are looking forward to BBQs and picnics. Both classic summer pastimes provide the opportunity to make memories with friends and family. The key is to pay attention to food safety tips so the...

Illustration
Illustration

With summer approaching many Americans are looking forward to BBQs and picnics. Both classic summer pastimes provide the opportunity to make memories with friends and family. The key is to pay attention to food safety tips so the memories are of the fun had and not of any food related illness! Keep the following food safety advice in mind as your enjoy summer eating!

Safely Slice and Serve Your Fruit

Safely Slice and Serve Your Fruit
Safely Slice and Serve Your Fruit

Summer is a time to eat delicious, freshly picked fruit. In needs to be prepared so the fruit is safe to consume and the person doing the preparation is not injured! Use a sturdy cutting board. Slip-proof is best. Make sure the cutting board and knife have been properly cleaned prior to preparing raw fruit or veggies.

The soft and bumpy skin of cantaloupes tends to harbor bacteria. Avoid buying pre-cut cantaloupes. In recent years these have been a source of food-borne illness such as salmonella. Cut your own fruit at home. This will save you money and reduce the risk of a food illness. Be sure to refrigerate the fruit until it is time to eat. Keep all fruits and salads refrigerated or in a cooler to prevent bacteria growth.

Meat Thermometer

Cooking meat to the correct temperature is necessary to ensure that the food is safe to eat. How do you know if the meat has been cooked properly? Consider using a meat thermometer for verification! Meat thermometers are an inexpensive gadget that will give you confidence that the food you are serving your friends and loved ones is safe. To kill germs hamburgers should be cooked to 160 degrees and chicken needs to be cooked to 165 degrees. Although many people think it is adequate to judge just based on the color of the meat, it really isn't. Checking with a meat thermometer is quick, easy, and necessary!

Cooking meat to the correct temperature is necessary to ensure that the food is safe to eat
Cooking meat to the correct temperature is necessary to ensure that the food is safe to eat.

Keep Foods at the Right Temperature

Once you have cooked your meat to the correct temperature serve it immediately. If you will not be able to serve the meat right away then it should be maintained at 140°F or above. The general rule is to keep hot food hot and cold food cold when serving to prevent contamination. Cold food should be kept below 40°F. To achieve this place the serving container in deep pan filled with ice. If it is not possible to keep the food at the proper temperature while serving then follow the guideline: Only leave food out of the cooler or off of the grill for 2 hours or less. If the outdoor temperature is above 90°F reduce that limit to 1 hour.

If you will be packing the food you prepare to take with you on a picnic be sure to pack it properly. Fill the cooler with ice to keep cold items at the proper temperature. In addition, try to time it so you are packing your picnic basket right before you leave. This will minimize the amount of time the food could be at the wrong temperature.

Leftovers

No one wants to waste food but it is also not wise to eat leftovers that have been out for too long. Consider the following rule:  If food has been left out for less than 2 hours it is safe to put it in the refrigerator and eat at a later time. Label the container you put the leftovers in so you know how old they are. Items should be eaten within 3 or 4 days. In addition, remember to reheat to 165 degrees before serving.

Enjoy a fun and safe summer! Keeping the above tips in mind will help ensure that your BBQs and picnics are successful. Contact us for additional food safety tips!