When planning a picnic, barbecue, or day at the beach this summer, learn how to keep your food safe.
According to FoodSafety.gov, foodborne illnesses increase during the summer. Stay healthy and safe during warmer months by following these food safety recommendations:
When bringing food to a picnic or cookout:
- Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs. You can also use frozen food as a cold source.
- Foods that need to be kept cold include raw meat, poultry, and seafood; deli and luncheon meats or sandwiches; summer salads (tuna, chicken, egg, pasta, or seafood); cut up fruit and vegetables; and perishable dairy products.
- Keep your cooler out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter. Remember that a full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than a partially filled one.
- Avoid opening the cooler repeatedly to keep your food cold longer.
When cooking on the grill:
- Prevent cross-contamination from raw meat or poultry juices by washing countertops and sinks with hot, soapy water. Wash hands after handling raw meat or poultry or its packaging because anything you touch afterwards could become contaminated.
- Keep perishable food cold until it is ready to cook.
- Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly to their safe minimum internal temperatures.
- Always use a fresh, clean plate and tongs for serving cooked food. Never reuse items that touch raw meat or poultry to serve cooked food.
When serving food outdoors:
- Do not sit perishable food out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should NEVER sit out for more than one hour.
- Serve cold food in small portions, and keep the rest in the cooler.
- After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served – at 140°F or warmer.
- Keep hot food hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook.