Thursday, May 21, 2015

Question: Summer is right around the corner. What are some food safety tips that we need to be aware of?

Answer: Get ready! It’s time to fire up the grill! It’s that time of year again, when we all gather for barbeques, picnics and cookouts. There are a few food safety tips that you should know before leaving the coleslaw out in the hot sun too long. Family fun can take a bad turn when someone acquires a foodborne illness. It’s important to understand time and temperature control when it comes to cooking or leaving out food. Many foods are susceptible to time and temperature abuse. Some of these include summer favorites such as ground beef in hamburgers or dishes made with dairy products like potato salad.

Certain foods have different proper cooking temperatures. The temperatures are based on the bacteria that are associated with each food. For example, E-Coli which can be found in ground beef is killed at 155 degrees F. while Salmonella and Campylobacter found in chicken needs to be cooked to 165 degrees F. in order to be destroyed. Other foods such as pork, fish and eggs need to be cooked to 145 degrees F. to ensure they are safe to eat.

Here is important information to remember when cooking or holding certain foods:

  • Always use a thermometer when cooking foods such as beef or poultry
  • Bacteria/microbial growth increases rapidly between the temperatures of 41 degrees F. – 135 degrees F. known as the Temperature Danger Zone.
  • Harmful organisms grow slowly below 41 degrees F. and can be destroyed above 135 degrees F.
  • Foods that are cooked need to be cooled quickly from 135 degrees F. to 41 degrees F. to prevent bacterial growth
  • Hot foods need to be held at a minimum temperature of 135 degrees F. in order to prevent bacterial growth
  • Hot hold foods should be discarded after 4 hours.

    You can prevent foodborne illness by following these important time and temperature tips and you can better enjoy your summer food festivities!