This weekend we celebrate the last few weeks of summer with Labor Day. If you are headed to a picnic or barbecue, we have some important advice from Dr. Randy Martin to help you prevent food-borne illnesses, like salmonella and E. coli.
- Stay out of the “danger zone”: One of the best ways to prevent food poisoning is to keep your food out of the “danger zone” – between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Put away hot or cold food within two hours, or within one hour if temperatures reach 90 degrees or higher. Toss any food that is left out longer than two hours.
- Keep it clean: When preparing for a picnic or party, be sure to wash your hands, food and cooking utensils thoroughly. You should even wash fruits and vegetables with rinds (like watermelon and cantaloupe) because their exteriors can carry dangerous bacteria.
- Cooler safety: When packing for a picnic, use separate coolers for beverages and food. Because drink coolers are frequently opened, their temperatures can rise quickly. In your food cooler, be sure raw meats are wrapped well so their juices do not leak onto other food.
- Grilling tips: If you are grilling out this weekend, take care when prepping meat. Marinate steak, chicken and other meats in the refrigerator, and never place cooked meats on plates that have held raw meat. Keep all meat refrigerated until you are ready to cook.
Food-borne illnesses are common during warm weather, and early September typically experiences summer temperatures, so use these tips to protect yourself and your loved ones. Have a great holiday weekend!