Don’t you just love summer? Unfortunately, bacteria do too. So whether you’re cooking indoors or grilling outside, make sure you follow these summer safety tips to prevent food borne illnesses .
• Start with a clean kitchen.
Appliances and utensils with lots of crevices let moisture gather and germs  grow. Some of the germiest places in your kitchen are the refrigerator meat and vegetable compartment, blender gasket, can opener, rubber spatula and the rubber seals on food storage containers.
• Store and defrost foods safely.
Always bring perishable foods straight home from the store and place them in the refrigerator or freezer. If frozen, foods can be thawed in the microwave (if cooking immediately) or overnight in the refrigerator.
• Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
Keep perishable foods refrigerated or iced down until just before placing on a preheated grill or serving. Keep hot foods above 140º F once fully cooked.
• Avoid cross contamination.
Bacteria can easily spread from one food to the next via dripping juices, hands or utensils. Don’t use the same utensils and plates for raw or uncooked foods as you do for cooked foods.
• Cook with a thermometer, not your eyes.
Always use a certified food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to the proper minimum internal temperature, inserting into the thickest part of the meat:
Whole or ground poultry — 165º F
Ground meats (other than poultry) — 160º F
Fresh fin fish — 145º F
Fresh whole pork, beef, veal — 145º F with a 3-minute rest time
• Pack perishable foods properly.
Put perishable foods in individual containers and place on the bottom of your cooler with ice packs on top.
• Transport foods safely.
Transport uncooked meats in a separate cooler from ready-to-eat foods. Put coolers in the air conditioned back seat of your car, not the hot trunk.
• Don’t prepare food more than a day in advance unless you’re going to freeze it.
If you have to cook foods more than a day in advance, reheat them to at least 165º F before serving.
• Remember the 1-hour rule.
Don’t consume perishable foods that have been sitting out beyond an hour on days where the temperature is over 90º F.
Learn more about staying healthy at our Wellness for Life  web page.ShareThis