During the Summer Months

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor picnics, barbecues, and sports.  It is also the perfect time to breed food bugs.  Take a look at some tips from the Food Network to keep both your food and family safe:

  • Use a thermometer – Don’t just rely on how food looks; make sure it is cooked.
  • Monitor leftovers – Cooked meats and salads should not be left out at room temperature for over two hours.  If weather is hot (90 degrees plus), never leave food out longer than an hour.  Toss any unrefrigerated food if it is passed that time.
  • Don’t reuse marinades.  Be sure to discard used marinade; this will prevent raw meat juices getting on your cooked food.
  • Separate raw and cooked food.  If you are ready to grill meat, use one plate for the raw food and a second clean plate for cooked food.  The same applies to tongs and serving utensils.
  • Wash hands properly – Wet your hands, apply soap, rub your hands together, rinse thoroughly, dry your hands.  
  • Pack a safe picnic – place raw meats and poultry in a separate cooler surrounded by ice. Keep in the air-conditioned part of your car, not your trunk.
  • Defrost meats properly. Leaving raw meat and poultry on the countertop to defrost will only allow dangerous food bugs to grow. Plan ahead and defrost meat 1-2 days in advance in the refrigerator.
  • Wash produce thoroughly. Wash fruit and veggies in cool tap water before eating to eliminate any bacteria. This includes washing produce like melon before you slice or peel it to make sure bacteria isn’t transferred from the knife to your fruit or veggies.
  • Wash reusable grocery storage bags. If use reusable grocery bags, it’s important to wash them regularly. Studies found that harmful bacteria can linger in your totes and hitch a ride with ready-to-eat foods like produce.
  • Decrease your cancer risk. Grilling is popular during the warm weather, but improper cooking techniques can increase your cancer risk. 

Follow these food safety tips and fully enjoy your outside activities.