The warm temperatures of summer are ideal for outdoor gatherings with family and friends. However, they are also the perfect conditions for the spread and growth of bacteria that can cause food-related illnesses. This is why keeping food safe during summer is always challenging.
To protect yourself and your loved ones from foodborne diseases, it is necessary to observe summer food safety tips that include proper food handling and cooking. Following the suggestions will keep you healthy and avoid sickness that may ruin your fun summer. Here are 5 tips on how to keep your food safe this summer.
5 Summertime Tips on Food Safety
1. Wash Your Hands Properly.
Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water. Be sure to clean all parts of your fingers and hands. This prevents the spread of germs from people and food. Proper handwashing is one of the summer food safety tips that must be always observed whether you are indoors or outdoors. You can also use alcohol or sanitizers to clean your hands if there is no available water.
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2. Keep Raw Foods Separate From Cooked And Ready-To-Eat Foods.
Food-borne illnesses occur when bacteria are transferred from one food to another. Keep raw meat apart from ready-to-eat foods. Do not use a cutting board or plate that was previously used to prepare or store raw meat, seafood, or fish. Wash thoroughly in hot soapy water before using them to prepare other foods. Never serve cooked foods on uncleaned plates that previously held raw food. Observe summer food safety tips like storing meats and fish and seafood below ready-to-eat foods in the refrigerator to avoid drips from contaminating other food.
3. Cook Foods To Their Proper Temperatures.
Use a food thermometer when you are cooking. Cook your food by following these safe food temperatures: roasts, steaks, and fish (145⁰ F); ground beef, pork, and egg dishes (160⁰ F); hot dogs and chicken breasts (165⁰ F). Always remember to cook food properly by following these summer food safety tips at the right temperatures.
4. Wash Fruits and Vegetables Thoroughly.
Rinse and rub fruits and vegetables under running tap water before packing them inside the cooler. Dry them using a clean cloth or paper towel. There is no need for you to wash packaged fruits and vegetables that are labeled “ready-to-eat” or “washed”.
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5. Maintain Cold Foods Cold while Hot Foods Hot.
Keep foods at their proper temperatures to avoid the growth of food-borne bacteria. The “danger zone” of temperature is 40°F to 140°F. Do not keep your food in this range for more than 2 hours or 1 hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90⁰ F. Remember these summer food safety tips: hot foods must be held at or above 140°F and stored in an insulated container to be eaten within 2 hours of cooking while cold foods must be kept at or below 40°F. They must be stored in an insulated container with ice to keep the food cold.
Keeping food during summer is very difficult due to the spread and growth of bacteria. Bacteria can contaminate your food and cause illnesses. Keep in mind the summer food safety tips so you can protect yourself and your loved ones from getting sick.
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