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:
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.
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.
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.
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.