Summer food safety

Follow these tips to handling your food properly so you can enjoy a summer full of healthy family meals.

Summer in Michigan is a time which is embraced and cherished by many. To enjoy the fleeting summer in its fullest, eating meals together at family gatherings is without question. Nevertheless, it is important to realize the positive impact that food safety can have on you and your loved ones. Summer activities present opportunities for foodborne bacteria to thrive; properly handling food is a prime way to keep everyone safe and healthy. Here are some helpful food safety tips from Michigan State University Extension:

  • Cold, perishable food should be kept in the cooler or refrigerator at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below until serving time.
    • Once you’ve served it, it should not sit out for longer than two hours at room temperature. If it does – discard it.
    • Foods like chicken salad and desserts in individual serving dishes can be placed directly on ice, or in a shallow container set in a deep pan filled with ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.
    • Hot food should be kept hot, at or above 135 degrees Fahrenheit while serving.
      • Wrap it well and place it in an insulated container until serving. Or, keep food hot on the stove until serving.
      • Just as with cold food – these foods should not sit out for more than two hours at room temperature. If food is left out longer, throw it away to be safe.
      • Keep a meat thermometer on hand, and cook meats until they reach a proper internal temperature for at least 15 seconds.

Steak

Fish

Pork

Ground beef

Egg dishes

Poultry

145 F

145 F

145 F

155 F

145 F

165 F

      • Marinate foods in the refrigerator – never on the kitchen counter or outdoors. In addition, if you plan to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion separately before adding the raw meat, poultry or seafood. Don’t reuse marinade.
      • If you are bringing food to a family gathering, limit the number of times a cooler or thermos is opened as much as you can. This helps to keep the contents at a safe temperature for longer.

By following these safety tips, you will be on your way to a successful summer gathering!

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