Warmer weather is the perfect opportunity for outdoor eating. But with the fun comes a warning. The warmer temperatures create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow in food, which can make you ill. Whether you are enjoying a cookout at home or a picnic in the park, you should follow these safety tips to stay free from foodborne illnesses.
- Keep your hands clean. Wash hands before preparing food, after handling meat, and after touching your mouth, nose, pets, etc.
- Be sure to defrost your meat properly. Do not let meat thaw on the counter; the outside can become warm enough to grow bacteria. Thaw meat in the refrigerator or use the microwave.
- Separate raw meats and produce. Keep a cooler with ice for meats. If traveling, keep the cooler in an air conditioned car.
- Separate raw and cooked meats. Do not use the same platter for cooked and raw food. Use a fresh, or washed, platter.
- Do not reuse the marinade for your meats; throw it out.
- Wash your produce well – even cantaloupes and other melons. Bacteria on the skin can be spread into the produce when you cut it.
Watch out for leftovers. Do not leave cooked foods, raw meats, or salads at room temperature for longer than 2 hours if inside, or only 1 hour if outside. Cool down leftovers as quickly as possible. Discard them if there’s a question of safety
Article Source: Mary Grider, Nutrition Educator