Friday, July 13, 2018

A Recipe for a Delicious (and Safe!) Summer

“Summertime and the livin’ is easy…” Ahhh words to live by. Time for leisurely outdoor picnics, grilling and boat rides. What could be better?  Certainly not spending your quickly fleeting summer days and nights sick. Unfortunately, our best laid plans are no match for foodborne illnesses. An estimated 48 million people get sick, 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 people die each year in the United States from foodborne illnesses. But good news – foodborne illnesses are completely preventable! Keeping your friends and family safe during the hot months (and any time of year) is easier than you might think. Just follow these Six Safety Tips for a memorable and delicious summer!

  1. Know where your food is coming from. Just last month several people in NYC went to the hospital after eating a potato salad. Turns out they got botulism from improperly home-canned potatoes.
  2. Be aware of cold food storage times. Plan ahead, but don’t purchase perishable foods too early. They may spoil before you use them. 
  3.  Wash your hands and surfaces often! Don’t forget to also wash your fruits and veggies before preparing and enjoying. 
  4.  Don’t cross contaminate. Use different plates for raw meats and cooked foods to prevent the spread of bacteria. 
  5. Take the guess work out of cooking. Use a food thermometer to ensure you are cooking foods to a safe internal temperature. This is the only way to destroy harmful bacteria. 
  6.  Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Use chafing dishes, your oven or slow cookers to keep hot foods at or above 140°F. Place cold foods in containers on ice and keep temperatures at or below 40°F. Don’t leave perishable foods out for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is above 90°F).
As you are enjoying the dog days of summer remember that food safety should never take a vacation! By following these Six Safety Tips you can make sure that your next cook out isn’t a breeding-ground for foodborne illness. Wishing you and your family a healthy, fun-filled summer.

Judy Ross,
Principal Sanitarian