Summer is here! Summer means picnics, barbecues, and pot lucks. But these fun activities also carry the risk of food poisoning. How do you protect yourself and those you love? Here are food safety tips that will help you avoid food poisoning:
Cooler Food Safety
- Use an insulated cooler filled completely with ice or frozen food.
- Do not leave the lid off the cooler longer than it takes to retrieve an item.
- Keep the cooler in the shade. Place it under the picnic table, for example.
- Do not remove entire containers from the cooler. Removing containers raises the temperature of the cooler. When serving potato salad for example, portion the salad onto plates and return the rest to the cooler.
Food Preparation Safety
- Avoid cross contamination. Do not let raw meat come into contact with anything that will be used to prepare cooked or readily eaten food, like fruits or vegetables.
- Keep cold food below 40 degrees and hot food above 140 degrees.
- Keep all food in tightly sealed containers without leaks. Make sure no juices run out of the containers.
- Wash hands thoroughly before preparing food, especially before handling food that will be eaten cold, like sandwiches or salads.
- Do not let food sit out for longer than 2 hours.
- Cook meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Ground beef should be cooked until there is no pink on the inside.
- Once meat is cooked, keep it warm by placing it on the side of the grill rack or in a warming tray.
- Do not use the plate that held raw meat as a serving tray for cooked meat.
- Bring hand sanitizer or moist towels for hand washing on the go.
- Make sure all cooked food is kept in a cooler with ice.
- Don’t leave anything out before packing it. Don’t thaw meat or frozen food at room temperature overnight. Take food straight from the fridge to your cooler.
- Don’t assume that a short picnic means you don’t need a cooler. Summer temperatures can reach 90 degrees, and food spoils within an hour at this temperature.
Enjoy your summer and avoid food poisoning by following these tips. For more information, contact your nearest Complete Care location in North Texas, Austin, East Texas, El Paso, San Antonio and Corpus Christi.