Health Blog

Food Safety During the Summer

The summer months are a fun time to have picnics, barbeques and other outdoor parties. It is also a time where foodborne bacteria have opportunity to spread. Keep these food safety tips in mind to avoid illness.

Food Safety During the Summer

Bringing Food to Picnics

Before you begin preparing your picnic, make sure your hands and any surfaces you plan to use for food are clean. If you don't have running water, use a water jug or water bottle, soap and paper towels. You could also use moist towelettes for your hands. 

You should also remember to keep cold food cold. To prevent bacterial growth on your food, cold food should be stored at 40 °F or below. Meat, poultry, and seafood can be packed while still frozen so they stay colder longer. Consider packing beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in another, that way perishable foods won't be as exposed to warm outdoor temperatures. Remember to keep coolers closed – this helps to keeps the contents cold for longer periods of time. 

Barbeques and Grilling

When preparing food for the grill, make sure you use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat, vegetables, and bread. Always keep perishable food cold until it's ready to cook. To ensure meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly to their safe minimum internal temperatures, use a food thermometer. Below are the safe minimum internal temperatures for meats and poultry:

  • Beef, Pork, Lam, and Veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145 °F with a 3-minute rest time
  • Ground meats: 160 °F
  • Whole poultry, poultry breasts, and ground poultry: 165 °F

An easy way to ensure food safety is to remember these easy four steps: 

  1. Clean: wash hands and surfaces often
  2. Separate: separate raw meats and from other foods
  3. Cook: cook to the right temperature
  4. Chill: refrigerate foods promptly 


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