Originally published in Grow With Nutrition by Jane Dummer.
|As barbecue and picnic season is upon us, it is important to consider food safety especially when eating outdoors.
Food safety is important all year round, so why do we need to be extra concerned during the summer months?
- Foodborne bacteria thrive when food enters the temperature danger zone of 4°C to 60°C, which can easily happen in summer temperatures. For this reason, people must take extra care when preparing and storing foods for outdoor eating.
- Keeping food at proper temperatures is important in preventing the growth of foodborne bacteria. As a rule, cold food should be kept cold and hot food kept hot.
- For picnics, barbecues and packed lunches, this can be done by using ice packs and coolers for cold perishable foods, and insulated containers for warm foods.
- Wash fruits and vegetables with clean, running water before slicing and/or eating.
- When grilling, ensure that foods are cooked thoroughly by using a meat thermometer to monitor the internal cooking temperature.
- Use separate plates and utensils to transport raw and cooked foods to and from the barbecue, and always store raw foods in the fridge until you are ready to start cooking.
- Try to limit handling food outdoors by cutting and preparing food inside before cooking and eating outdoors.
- Put leftover cooked meats and other perishables in sealed containers the fridge immediately after your meal.
While you’re having fun outdoors with family and friends this summer, remember these easy steps to keeping your food safe.