Tips for summertime food safety
Picnics and barbecues are just around the corner, so be mindful of food safety as you soak up the summer sun and fun. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in six Americans get sick from foodborne illnesses, including those associated with poorly cooked or stored foods in hot environments. Still, there are ways to keep your favorite foods safe – and your friends and loved ones healthy – this summer.
- Keep it clean. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling uncooked eggs or raw meat, poultry, and seafood (and their juices). To prevent cross-contamination, wash utensils and cutting boards with hot, soapy water after food prep too.
- Tip: Fill a spray bottle with one tablespoon chlorine bleach and water, and use it to sanitize your countertops and other food-prep surfaces.
- Cool it. Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, not on the countertop. Safely marinate your meats, poultry, and seafood in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook. Don’t reuse marinade, and don’t serve it with cooked foods.
- Cook foods thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to check for doneness. Make sure cooked foods have reached a safe internal temperature:
- Fresh beef, pork, veal, and lamb (steaks, roasts, and chops) – 145°F
- Fresh fish – 145°F
- Ground beef, pork, veal, and lamb (burgers and sausages) – 160°F
- All poultry and pre-cooked meats (such as hot dogs) – 165°F
- Refrigerate your leftovers. Chill your foods to stop the growth of bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses. Refrigerate items within two hours of cooking or one hour if the outside temperature is at or above 90°F.
- Tip: If you’re outside, keep things chilled at 40°F or less in a cooler, or place them directly on ice.
To boost your “BBQ IQ,” visit the CDC webpage.
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