Summer food safety tips to keep your family healthy

Wash Hands Thoroughly

Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before handling food. This is especially important when preparing and serving meals outdoors.

Keep Surfaces Clean

Ensure that all cooking surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards are clean before use. Bacteria can multiply rapidly in warm weather, so it's crucial to maintain a clean cooking environment.

Separate Raw and Cooked Foods

Avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meats and ready-to-eat foods.

Use a Food Thermometer

Cook meats to the recommended internal temperatures to ensure they are safe to eat. Ground meats should be cooked to at least 160°F (71°C), and poultry to 165°F (74°C).

Chill Perishable Foods Promptly

Refrigerate or chill perishable foods, like salads, dips, and dairy products, within two hours of serving. If the temperature is above 90°F (32°C), reduce this time to one hour.

Store Food Safely

When picnicking or barbecuing, keep cold foods in a cooler with ice packs and hot foods in insulated containers to maintain their respective temperatures. Don't leave perishable foods out in the sun.

Stay Hydrated

In addition to food safety, it's essential to stay hydrated during hot weather. Drink plenty of water, especially if you're spending time outdoors or participating in physical activities.

Watch for Allergens

If you're hosting a gathering, be mindful of any food allergies your guests may have. Clearly label dishes with potential allergens and ask guests about any dietary restrictions beforehand.

Practice Safe Grilling

If you're using a grill, ensure it's clean and free from grease buildup to prevent flare-ups. Keep a safe zone on the grill where you can move food in case of flames.

Discard Leftovers Promptly

Don't let perishable foods sit out for too long after a meal. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours (or one hour if the temperature is above 90°F or 32°C).

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