Having A Food Safe Summer

grilling-2491123_1920Summer is around the corner and summer cookouts will be in full swing! When hosting (or attending) a cookout, food safety should be a top priority. Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep our family and friends safe.


    1. WASH THOSE HANDS! Making sure to wash our hands frequently when handling food can prevent sickness. Always wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before AND after handling food.
    2. SEPARATE FOODS! Cross-contamination is when pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.) are transferred from one surface or food to another. Foods that are ready-to-eat, like salads and fruit, should never be prepared on the same surface or cutting boards as raw meats. Similarly, if you are preparing foods that need to be cooked before eating (hamburger patties), make sure to thoroughly wash your hands before preparing other ready-to-eat foods.
    3. CHECK THE TEMPERATURE! Many cooks rely on how food looks to determine whether it is fully cooked or not. Visual inspections will NOT tell you if foods have risen to a temperature that properly kills pathogens. Investing in a kitchen thermometer can prevent illnesses. Below is a table of internal temperatures foods need to reach in order to be safely edible:  
    4. Food

      Internal Temperature

      Poultry, Stuffed meat, Stuffing, Previously cooked dishes 165°F
      Ground meat (beef, pork), Ground seafood 155°F
      Seafood (fish, shellfish, crustaceans), Steaks/Chops of beef, pork, veal and lamb, Roasts of beef, pork, veal and lamb 145°F
      Fruit, Vegetables, Grains (rice, pasta) and legumes (beans, refried beans) 135°F


    5. 2-HOUR RULE! Foods that are left out for two hours need to be discarded, and the time goes down to one hour if the temperature is over 90°F. This is because pathogens grow very well in warm temperatures and food quickly can become unsafe to eat. Try to keep cold foods on ice or in a refrigerator until they are ready to be consumed, and bring out small portions at a time. Foods that need to be cooked, or are eaten hot, cook few portions so extra is not left out.
    6. WASH, RINSE, SANITIZE! Make sure all the surfaces, including utensils and equipment, that contacted foods are washed with soap, rinsed with water, and sanitized with a chemical solution.


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