Ensure a Food Safe Summer

Or, How to NOT Invite Foodborne Illness to The Party

The outdoor food season is here; the weather is beautiful, trees and flowers are in bloom, and everyone is outside doing summer activities. We’re attending and hosting all manner of picnics, reunions, and backyard barbecues while we soak up the sunshine. Great food and great camaraderie is nourishment to body and spirit. It is also a time where we forget that foodborne illness peaks in the summer. According to the USDA there are a couple reasons for this. One reason is the higher outdoor temperatures, often mixed with moisture and humidity in summer, promote the growth of foodborne bacteria. Also, the convenience of a temperature controlled environment with refrigeration and proper washing up facilities may not be readily available.

Thankfully, there are some easy steps we can take to help ensure that our summertime outdoor feasts are a happy occasion for all.  Keep hands and food area surfaces clean. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meats and other foods securely wrapped and away from contact with each other. Cook meats to the proper temperature using a thermometer to accurately and safely ensure that it is ready to eat. The use of a wireless temperature probe is a wise choice as it takes away the risk of broken wires. Lastly, remember to get all your leftover perishables into coolers or a refrigerator within an hour and remember when in doubt throw it out. Now get out there and have a safe and delicious summer!

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