If you haven’t been able to tell by now, I am definitely a summer girl… I love it! Summer is so fun… Picnics, BBQs, outdoor activities! :D A downfall though, is that risk of foodborne illness increases in the heat. It becomes particularly important to practice safe food handling during this time of year when bacteria are multiplying even more quickly. Here are 4 steps to avoid food borne illness (just in time for the long weekend!):
- Wash your hands, kitchen surfaces, utensils and reusable shopping bags with warm, soapy water.
- Wash fresh produce under cold running water.
- Soak and thoroughly rinse green leafy vegetables.
- Use a produce brush to scrub hard surfaces, such as the skin of a cantaloupe.
- You can’t actually tell if meat is cooked by cutting it open and looking at it, so make sure to use a food thermometer.
- Internal temperatures should read as follows:
o 71°C (160°F) for ground meat
o 74°C (165°F) for leftovers, chicken and turkey breasts, legs, thighs and wings
o 85°C (185°F) for whole poultry
- Check out the Internal Cooking Temperatures Chart http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/kitchen-cuisine/cook-temp-cuisson-eng.php
- Make sure to wash the thermometer after every use.
- Separate raw foods from cooked foods, fruits and veggies to avoid cross-contamination.
- Store raw meat on the bottom shelf of your fridge or cooler to prevent raw juices from dripping onto other foods.
- Keep your fridge at 4°C (40°F) and freezer at -18°C (0°F).
- Thaw your food in the fridge, under running water, or in the microwave and use right away.
- Chill leftover food within 2 hours of cooking.
- Tip: Freeze beverages and use them as ice packs when packing a cooler or picnic.
The “Danger Zone”
Foods should not be kept in the “danger zone” (between 4°C and 60°C) for longer than 2 hours. When grocery shopping, especially in extreme summer heat, try to pick up refrigerated items last to lessen the time spent in this temperature range.
For more information on food safety, check out Health Canada, Eat Right Ontario, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the video in the sidebar.
Adapted from: Health Canada. 2010. Summer Food Safety.