Summertime food safety

21 Jul

There’s a lot of attention to bad food that is currently circulating the market. It reminded me to remind you about cooking and serving food in an outdoor setting. Here are some tips to avoid some of the pitfalls:

1. Keep HOT foods HOT, and Cold foods COLD

The danger zone for food is between 41 and 140 degrees. Simply put, microbes thrive in this temperature zone. When outdoors, serve all composed salads super cold by putting the serving container into a bowl of ice. All hot foods should be served immediately or kept warmer than 140 degrees. Keep all food covered when not in use. Make sure that all your ingredients in your composed salads are cold before mixing them together (everybody at one time or another has added hot eggs or warm potatoes to a salad then added mayo to make it; this is not safe).

2. Wash all utensils, food prep surfaces, and your hands after handling meat

Keep a container of warm soapy water handy to wash all food prep surfaces, being careful not to cross-contaminate other surfaces. Keep hands clean by using utensils to handle meat. Wash your hands thouroghly BEFORE and AFTER you handle meat ( and after you use the bathroom, no exceptions). Use a different container to transport raw meat, another to transport cooked meat

3. Do not re-use marinades. EVER.

If you want to baste that chicken with some of that lovely marinade that you made, think ahead and make extra. Marinades can be a perfect anaerobic environment to bacteria that causes all sorts of nasty germs.

4. Keep a thermometer handy

A probe-type thermometer can be bought at any grocery store for about $8, and can keep you in check tor making sure hot foods stay hot, and cold foods stay cold.

5. Cook meat thouroughly

Make sure all meat is cooked thouroghly. Here are the temperatures needed to assure meat is cooked and free from bacteria:

Rare beef- 130°

Pork, Beef, Lamb, Seafood – 145°

Hamburger or ground beef- 155°

All poultry- 165°

Keep these few facts in mind, and your outdoor gathering should be a safe one!

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