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May 30, 2014

Stay Safe: 5 Summer Food Safety Tips

With the summer quickly approaching, the time is right to review food safety tips. During warm weather, it is especially important to practice safe food handling when preparing perishable foods such as meat, poultry, seafood and egg products. The warmer conditions may be ideal for picnics and barbecues, but they also provide an ideal environment for bacteria and other pathogens in food to multiply rapidly and cause foodborne illness. Follow these 5 summer food safety tips from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reduce the risk of foodborne illness this summer.

From the Store to Your Home
To guard against cross-contamination — which can happen when raw meat or poultry juices drip on other food — put packages of raw meat and poultry into plastic bags. Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours. Refrigerate within 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F.

Marinating
Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat can be marinated up to 2 days. Beef, veal, pork and lamb roasts, chops, and steaks may be marinated up to 5 days. If the marinade used on raw meat or poultry is to be reused, make sure to let it come to a boil first to destroy any harmful bacteria.

Transporting
When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth. Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep the food at 40 °F or below. Pack food right from the refrigerator into the cooler immediately before leaving home.

Precooking
Precooking food partially in the microwave, oven, or stove is a good way of reducing grilling time. Just make sure that the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to complete cooking.

Cook Thoroughly
Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside. Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

For more information regarding food safety, check out the USDA’s website: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/


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