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CalorieKing’s Summertime Food Safety Tips

The weather is finally getting warm and beautiful so naturally we are headed outside to enjoy it with picnics and BBQs. Often we can get so wrapped up in planning and having a good time we forget about food safety practices.

The heat and humidity can go to work on our favorite foods turning them into potential time bombs for food borne illnesses if we aren’t careful. It just takes some awareness and CalorieKing Blog Family BBQpreparation to keep your friends and family safe from a stomach bug.

Staying food safe isn’t hard. Just plan ahead and take some precautions so you can enjoy your celebration without worry. We have some simple tips to guide you.

Keep Clean

Scope out amenities at your celebration site. If it doesn’t have fresh water available, pack cleaning supplies including soap and water to clean your hands, utensils and surfaces. Or, bring liquid hand sanitizer or wipes to keep things clean.

Wash your hands and surfaces often with soap and water. This is crucial before and after handling meat and other foods.

Wash and dry fresh vegetables and fruits carefully. Outbreaks of e-coli have been linked to dirty vegetables.

Avoid cross contamination from raw meat. Use separate utensils, cutting boards and plates for raw meats and wash thoroughly after use. Never reuse utensils, boards or plates that have touched raw meat.

Wrap and store raw meat separately. Wrap raw meat thoroughly and store it separately from other items in the cooler during transport so that raw juices don’t escape and contaminate other food.

Keep it Cool

Transport all items in a cooler at 40°. Refill with ice often and keep the lid closed to keep the temperature down.

Store drinks in a separate cooler. By storing drinks separately the constant opening and closing of the cooler won’t affect the temperature of your food.

Keep food in the cooler before cooking. Don’t set up your food until ready to cook. Keep your cooler out of the sun as well to keep temperatures down.

Pay close attention to how long food sits out. Never leave any food sitting out for more than two hours MAXIMUM; if outdoor temperatures are above 90°, that turns into one hour.

Ideally, ice down all foods and keep them covered. Just about anything can be a breeding ground for food poisoning if left out!

Don’t forget the meat. After they’ve been cooked, remember to either keep them iced or wrap and pack them up as quickly as you can.

Cook it Right!CalorieKing Blog Safe Cooking Temperatures

Cook your meat thoroughly. Bring along a meat thermometer to make sure you get it right.  At a minimum, cook to the temperatures on the chart– higher if your preferences dictate!

Don’t pre-cook meats at home. Though it may sound like a time saver, the in-between temperature of the meat as it rests can breed food borne bugs that might not be killed during cooking.

Re-cook any leftover marinades. If you have sauce or marinade you want to serve separately, if it has touched the meat it will need to be brought to a boil before serving.

The best bit of advice is if you have any doubts about the food at your party, always err on the side of caution. If it doesn’t look right, smell right or might have any contamination, just toss it and wash your hands.

Food poisoning is one take away from a party you can do without. If you have any questions about food safety during the summer months you can visit the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Site or the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service site or the US Food and Drug Administration’s Food Facts page.