By Mindy Longhurst
The summer is filled with so many fond memories playing outside. One of the highlights of summer is neighborhood barbecues and family picnics. These are filled with fun memories and great food! But, with the temperatures increasing, food safety is very important. No one wants to get food poisoning! 48 million Americans will get food poisoning this year. This is a startling amount of people! Some food borne illnesses can be prevented by doing some simple steps.
Keep your food cold!
For refrigerated foods, it is essential to keep them cool when outside. It is difficult for bacteria to grow and multiply on cold food. To keep food cold make sure to bring a cooler and fill it with ice.
Do not reuse ice from raw meat
Make sure to ice your raw meat before cooking at picnics and barbecues. But, make sure to never reuse ice that was used for raw meat. The bacteria from the raw meat contaminates the ice. If you reuse the ice, people could get sick.
Do not keep the food out in the sun too long
Bacteria multiplies when exposed to heat. You do not want your fruit or potato salad to be outside all day. It is recommended to only let food sit out for 2 hours. But, if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then it should not be out for more than an hour.
Wash your hands
Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling food. Read more about proper washing by reading this article https://byunursing.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/washing-the-germs-away/.
Wash your food
Wash fruits and vegetables before eating your food.
Wash your utensils
Make sure that the cooking utensils are cleaned after handling food to prevent cross contamination.
Use a food thermometer
Using a food thermometer is crucial when grilling. You want to make sure that the meat is cooked all the way. The recommended temperature for a burger is 160 ⁰F.
Keep food in separate containers in cooler
Everyone loves a great bowl of potato salad or fruit salad at the family picnic! If the food is sitting outside too long it can get people sick. To prevent this, put your big bowl of salads in a cooler with ice. Take a few smaller bowls and fill them up with the salad. Use the smaller bowls for people to fill up their plates. You can refill the smaller bowls throughout the picnic to make sure the food does not stay out too long in the sun.
For more information, please visit https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/events/summervacations/index.html