Summertime Food Safety

posted by Darlene DeWitt, MS, RD, LD on Wednesday, June 22, 2022

This is the season of cookouts, camping trips and grilling for the family. When you are cooking outside, and especially away from home you want to be more diligent with food safety. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind.

Practice good hand hygiene: Wash your hands before you cook, and ALSO in between handling raw and ready-to-eat foods. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday!) with warm soapy water. If you don’t have running water handy, make sure to pack some handi-wipes (with antiseptic in them) or instant hand sanitizer.

Avoid Cross-contamination:  Use different plates to carry raw and cooked meats. Make sure to not reuse cutting boards/bowls used for raw meat until they can be washed with soap and hot water. Having color-coded cutting boards can help you keep them separate. There are also disposable options that can make things easier for your next camping trip.  And if you don’t want to mess with it, prep your meats before you go to make things easier.
Cook foods to correct temperatures: It may be tempting to go by feel or look, but it is best to have a meat thermometer.

Whole cuts of beef or pork and seafood: 145 degrees

Ground meats: 160 degrees

Poultry: 165 degrees

Hot dogs/kielbasa processed and precooked: reheated to 145 degrees

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold:  The temperature danger zone is 41-140 degrees. This means bacteria can grow and cause food-borne illnesses. If foods can’t be kept cold or hot, throw away after 2 hours (1 hour if above 90 degrees outside). Keep hot foods covered with aluminum foil to keep heat in. Bring some large bowls that you can fill with ice, and then put your cold salad bowl in that for serving. To make sure you can keep things cold enough, keep your cooler stocked with ice and stored out of the sun whenever possible.
In the end, If in doubt, throw it out!  Hope you can use these tips to keep everyone safe this summer!

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About The Author

Darlene DeWitt, MS, RD, LD

Darlene DeWitt is one of Spencer Hospital’s Registered Dietitians. Darlene currently provides outpatient services in the areas of Diabetes management, heart disease, weight loss, GI issues and other various health concerns.  She received her Master of Science degree in nutrition from C ... read more