Food Borne Bacteria Grows Faster in Hot Weather
The start of summer is around the corner! Many trips and parties will be planned, and some will cook for many. With the extra activities, and the large number of people you could be feeding, food safety is extremely important to make sure every one has a fun, and safe, weekend.
Food borne bacteria grows more quickly in hot weather, so people need to take extra care of the food they are storing and preparing to prevent food poisoning.
Here are 8 recommended practices for keeping food safe during fun activities in the hot sun:
- Use an insulated cooler to store food. Ice or gel packs can be used to keep it cool, as well as frozen food.
- Keep the cooler full. A full cooler will stay cooler longer
- Keep your cooler out of the sun. Place it in shade or in shelter.
- Limit the times you open the cooler. Avoiding opening the cooler frequently will keep your food cold for longer periods of time.
- Remember the foods that need to be kept cold: raw meat, poultry, seafood, deli and luncheon meats, sandwiches, summer salads (that may contain tuna, chicken, egg, pasta or seafood.) sliced fruit or vegetables, and dairy products.
- Use separate utensils or platters for raw meat and ready to eat food, such as vegetables, bread, or cooked meat. Never reuse the items that touched raw meat.
- Keep food cool until it is ready to be cooked
- Use a food thermometer to ensure that meat is thoroughly cooked
Remember: Beef, pork, lamb and veal should have an internal temp of 145 degrees Fahrenheit with a 3 minute wait time. Ground meat should have an internal temp of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Any poultry items including ground poultry should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Any perishable food items should not sit out for more than two hours. If the weather is 90 degrees or more, food should not stay out longer than an hour. Serve your cool foods in smaller portions so you can store the rest. Keep your cooked meat hot until you serve it – at 140 degrees or more. You can keep it hot by setting the food to the side of a grill rack, not directly over the coals to avoid overcooking.