Summer means BBQs, picnics, and other get-togethers that usually revolve around food. But as temperatures outside rise, we need to be careful about food-borne illness. Not following proper food preparation and holding techniques can result in food poisoning from pathogens like campylobacter, E. coli, listeria, norovirus, and salmonella.
Two main objectives can help keep your food safe:
- Stop bacteria from growing
- Cook food to minimum temperatures: Get a food thermometer and check your temps: Poultry (whole or ground) should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F. Cook ground meat to at least 160 F, and cook beef, pork, veal, lamb, and fish to 145 F or higher.
- Store food at proper temperatures. Bacteria thrives at 40-140 F – so keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
- Put away food promptly. Food shouldn’t be sitting out more than two hours, or no longer than one hour when the temperature is over 90 F outside.
- Wash your hands! This is how bacteria spreads. Spend 30 seconds washing your hands vigorously with soap. Watch your hands too – if you’ve been handling raw meat, try not to touch anything else before you wash your hands.
- Keep raw and cooked foods separate. Use different cutting boards, utensils, plates, and marinades for raw and cooked meats.
Remember: Keeping your food safe will keep you outside this summer!