Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service "Food Safety At Home" podcast series, featuring topics for the safe handling, preparation and storage of meat, poultry and processed egg products. So, sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Hello! Im CiCi Williamson with the USDAs Food Safety and Inspection Service. With me is Donna Karlsons.
Were here to pass along a couple of important food safety reminders for the summer.
Every year, we receive thousands of calls from people who arent sure about the safety of the food they take outside during hot weather.
And they are right to be concerned. Foodborne illnesses, also known as food poisoning, increase during the summer. Most microorganisms grow faster during this time of year, especially at temperatures between 90 and 110 °F. In addition to warm temperatures, bacteria also need moisture to flourish, and the summer can be very humid.
Also, more people are barbecuing, picnicking and camping. Outdoors its harder to cook food safely, keep it cold, and keep things clean.
Here are some tips that can help prevent food poisoning when handling and preparing food away from your kitchen this summer.
Its crucial to wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after handling raw meat and poultry.
When preparing food and eating away from home, find out if there's a source of safe drinking water. If not, bring water for drinking and cleaning. Also, pack clean, wet, disposable washcloths or moist towelettes and paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces.
If you take perishables with you, its important to keep them in a cooler with PLENTY of ice or frozen ice gel packs.
When packing the cooler, wrap raw meats securely to keep raw meat juices from contaminating ready-to-eat food.
Being asked Is it done yet? every five minutes
can be annoying, but dont rush it. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill browns fast on the outside before the inside is done, so use a food thermometer to make sure your meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly. Visit
AskKaren.gov and find the right internal temperature for your meat.
When taking food off the grill, use a clean plate. Dont put cooked food on the same plate that held raw meat or poultry.
Place any leftover food back in the cooler within 2 hours, or 1 hour if the outside temperature is above 90 °F.
Here is a tip: The ice in your cooler will last longer if you keep the cooler closed, out of the sun, and covered, if possible.
Also, because the beverage cooler will probably be opened frequently, consider packing canned beverages in one cooler and perishable food in another cooler.
Want to know more? Visit
www.fsis.usda.gov and find more tips on how to cook safely in warm weather. Call us at 1-888-MPHotline (or 1-888-674-6854) if you have more questions!
Fight bacteria and stay safe this summer! And dont forget to check your food safety steps at
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