Do you enjoy going to barbecues or celebrations during the summer time, especially, around holidays? Did you know that you are more likely to eat contaminated food when temperatures outside are warmer? During the summer months many families and friends are getting together to hang out, have cookouts, attend celebrations, or have a party. Most of the time people are busy socializing or spending time together, often times people don’t realize that food is being left out for extended periods of time. When you leave food out for extended periods of time, especially during the summer months, it can increase your chances of eating contaminated food and becoming ill. Bacteria thrives in warmer temperatures and is undetectable to the human eye. When in doubt toss it out, it is better to waste food than to eat food that has been contaminated with bacteria.
Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. If you think you have food poisoning, please see a doctor immediately.
Tips to Prevent Food Poisoning or Complications from Food Borne Illness
During the summer months, as you are gathering with family and friends it is important to remember these food safety tips. Being overly cautious can help prevent food borne illnesses. Use the following tips as a guideline and to help reduce your chances of getting food poisoning:
- Before you begin preparing any food, wipe down the kitchen counters with a cleaner that kills 99% of bacteria and germs. Killing the germs will greatly reduce the chances of cross contaminating your food, utensils, and hands. Remember germs can’t been seen and often times you don’t know what is lurking on your counters.
- Always wash your hands before handling any food. Rewash them frequently especially after touching meats, eggs, going to the bathroom, handling pets, touching your face or hair, ect
- Carefully store your food properly to avoid cross contamination.
- Never defrost meat on the kitchen counter.
- Always use the microwave or refrigerator to defrost your food.
- Freeze any meat that you are not planning on using immediately or the next day.
- Clean your refrigerator and wipe it down with warm water and baking soda. Remove the draws and wash them with soap and hot water, especially, the meat and vegetable compartments. Make sure the drawers are thoroughly dry before putting them back in the refrigerator.
- Always keep your hot food hot after you have finished cooking them to avoid bacteria from growing on your freshly cooked food. Bacteria quickly breeds when the temperature is between 40 and 140 degrees F. Do keep your meat at 140 degrees F if you plan on leaving it out for an extended period of time by using a [amazon_link id=”B0018QJA8I” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”]warmer that is designed to keep foods hot[/amazon_link]. Promptly put the meats in the refrigerator when everyone has finished eating.
- Always keep your cold foods in the refrigerator or on ice until you are ready to serve. Promptly return your cold foods to the refrigerator or ice once you are finished eating.
- Avoid cross contamination by keeping your hands and utensils clean.
- Promptly clean up any dripping juices with a kitchen cleaner that will adequately kill 99% of bacteria and germs.
- Never place cooked foods on pans or plates that have touched raw meats. Also, don’t use the same utensils on raw and cooked food. Always get clean utensils for cooked food.
- Always put perishable foods in separate containers. Never mix foods.
- Properly wash all containers that food was stored or transported in.
- If you are transporting food, always place perishable foods in a cooler that contains enough ice to keep your food cold. If possible, place the [amazon_link id=”B000G68GP4″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” ]cooler[/amazon_link] inside of the air-conditioned car instead of the hot trunk.
- Never prepare perishable food more than a day in advance of the party unless you are able to freeze it. Cooking foods in advance allows more opportunity for bacteria to grow.
- Never eat food that has been sitting outside for more than an hour.