The warmer weather will be here before we know it. This means that more and more people will be heading for picnics, camping outings and backyard cookouts. However, the warmer temperatures are the ideal environment for food bugs. Here are some food tips to keep your family safe this summer.
Packing and Transporting Food This Summer
• Avoid cross-contamination. This means you want to keep raw meats, seafood and poultry separate from all your other foods.
• Foods that are perishable, like egg salads, fruit trays and cooked meats, should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours and no longer than an hour for temps over 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Standard room temperature is 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
• When transporting cold foods this summer, be sure you keep them cold until you reach your destination. Foods should be kept in a cooler with ice at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
• When transporting hot foods this summer, be sure foods are kept hot, at temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grilling Meats This Summer
• Before grilling your meats, poultry and seafood, be sure you defrost them properly. You never want to defrost meat, poultry or seafood at room temperature, like on the kitchen counter. Always defrost them in the refrigerator 1-2 days in advance.
• Use a thermometer when cooking meats out on the grill. This way, you can tell when your meats are cooked just right, killing any bacteria.
• Different meats, poultry and seafoods have different temperatures which indicate they are cooked thoroughly. Steaks, fish and pork need to be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Ground beef and egg dishes need to be cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Chicken breasts and whole poultry need to be cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Crab, lobster and shrimp need to be cooked until it is pearl white in color and is no longer transparent.
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