Although soon the summer will start to wind down, you still may have your share of summer barbeques and outdoor events to attend. During the heat of August it is especially important to keep food safety precautions in mind to prevent you from acquiring a foodborne illness.
An easy rule to remember when serving food outside in the summer is that hot foods must be kept hot and cold foods must be kept cold. Generally, bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40° and 140° Fahrenheit, which is known as “the danger zone.” Because of this, it is important to keep foods below 40° or above 140° Fahrenheit.
Here are some food safety tips for you to keep in mind as you enjoy the last of summer’s outdoor events:
- When in doubt, choose chilled foods over hot foods. You can refrigerate or freeze the food and drinks overnight and then place them in a cooler on the day of your event.
- Use a food thermometer to ensure meat has reached a safe internal temperature. Hamburgers should be 160° Fahrenheit and chicken should be no less than 165°
- Be sure to defrost your food in the refrigerator and not on your countertop!
- Always marinate foods in the refrigerator. And remember, if you plan to use some of the marinade as a sauce for the cooked food, reserve a portion separately before adding the raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
- Be sure to reheat leftovers to 165° Fahrenheit.
- No food should remain in the danger zone (40° to 140° Fahrenheit) for more than two hours.
- Be sure you have a way to wash your hands before and after handling food and prior to eating. Bring disposable wipes or hand sanitizer if you are not sure you will have access to a nearby sink.
Will these tips in mind, your outdoor event will be a food safety success. Visit the Fight BAC website for more food safety tips!