Summer is prime time for fun, outdoor picnics, and barbecues. A downside? An estimated forty-eight million Americans are victims of food poisoning each year, and you and your family may be at greater risk from foodborne illnesses due to improper summertime food preparation, serving, or storage. To ensure your food is safe to eat, take the following measures.
Thaw or marinate food in the refrigerator.
To prevent contamination, do not leave your food to thaw or marinate out on the countertop, where harmful bacteria can grow; keep it in the refrigerator. If you need to thaw food quickly, place it on defrost mode in the microwave.
Cook meat to its recommended doneness.
According to the USDA, pork roast, lamb, brisket, and fish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees, ground beef and egg dishes should cook to 160 degrees, and turkey and chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees.
Wash fruits and vegetables before peeling them.
Harmful bacteria and pesticides may be present on the skin of fruits and vegetables, so be sure to wash them thoroughly with water. Do not use soaps, detergents, or other cleaning products while washing food.
Keep coolers closed.
Because beverage coolers tend to be opened more frequently, keep your drinks in a separate cooler from your perishable foods. Also, remind people to close the cooler when they are done grabbing their snack or drink, and keep an appliance thermometer inside the cooler to make sure it’s keeping its contents at or below 40 degrees.
Store leftovers properly.
Perishable foods should be placed back into refrigeration after one hour outside if the temperature is warmer than 90 degrees.
For more info, visit cdc.gov/foodsafety