With the sultry days of summer fast approaching, it’s important to take some extra care when preparing food for those backyard BBQ’s, picnics, and cookouts. Nothing can ruin a great party like a case of foodborne illness.
Each year it’s estimated that foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella and E.coli affect 11 million people in Canada and 48 million in the United States. With that in mind, here are some tips to help keep your family safe and healthy this summer:
Tips for Meat:
When grocery shopping, pick up fresh meats last and put them in the fridge as soon as you get home to cut down on the time they’re out of refrigeration. If running other errands, put your meat in a cooler with an ice pack while in the car.
If storing meat in a cooler while camping or at a BBQ, avoid open and closing it frequently as this lets cold air out and warm air in.
When preparing meat, use a separate cutting board made of plastic or glass rather than wood which absorbs bacteria more easily.
Reusable shopping bags should be washed every few trips to avoid bacteria growth. Also, keep raw meats in a separate bag from fruits and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.
Meat Temperature Guide:
Beef, veal, lamb
Poultry (chicken, turkey)
Tips for fruits and vegetables:
Keep salads with creamy mayonnaise based dressings in the fridge or cooler until ready to serve.
Avoid leaving salads out in the heat for any amount of time as bacteria can grow to reach harmful levels in as little as 2 hours. If they must be out for a short time, keep on ice or ice packs.
If making salads for picnics or occasions where refrigeration won’t be available, try using vinaigrette type dressings instead of mayonnaise based which can spoil faster.
Use a separate cutting board for fruits and vegetables, different than the one you regularly use for meats to avoid cross contamination.
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