Summer Food Safety

You likely know that during the summer you need to be especially careful about sun exposure and using sunscreen consistently. Did you also know that there is an increased risk of food poisoning in the summer? Many people enjoy barbeques and picnics during the summer and this means an increased risk of food being overexposed to heat. Here are a few guidelines in food handling that can help you reduce the risk of food poisoning:

  • Keep all cold foods stored below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and consider transporting meat still frozen so it stays cooler longer.
  • Separate the beverages and perishable food so that when the drink cooler is opened for drink replenishment the perishables are not exposed as well.
  • Clean the produce before packing it and be sure to keep produce and prepared foods separated from uncooked meat.
  • Keep cooked food hot after it is ready by moving it to the side of the grill rack.
  • Remember to avoid leaving food out too long in the “danger zone” between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If anything has been out for more than 2 hours in this temperature range, throw it out. If the temperature outside is more than 90 degrees, throw it out after 1 hour. Use the rule, “When in doubt, throw it out.” Throwing out leftover food is always better than running the risk of becoming ill.

Another worry during the summer is the risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Be on the lookout for signs of each and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. The following link describes the signs and symptoms of these issues:

Always remember to drink plenty of water, wear your sunscreen, and safely handle food so you can enjoy a happy, healthy summer!

About Holly Carter

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