Summer is a time to enjoy the sun and celebrate the beautiful weather with outdoor activities like picnics and barbecues. Lorain County General Health District Health Commissioner, Kenneth G. Pearce urges residents to remember the following simple food safety tips when cooking out and picnicking:
Wash Up. Keep everything clean including hands, dishes and utensils. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. Be sure to have plenty of clean plates and cooking equipment.
Thaw Safely. Use the refrigerator to thaw frozen meat overnight or thaw meat by submerging sealed packages in cold water. Do not thaw meat on the counter or outside in the sun which could cause bacteria growth.
Marinate Correctly. Always marinate food in the fridge and not on the counter or outdoors. Never reuse the marinade with cooked, prepared food.
Keep Foods Separate. Prevent cross-contamination during food prep, grilling and serving. Do not use the same dishes or utensils that touched raw meat for ready-to-eat food. If the same plate is needed, be sure to wash it.
Cook Thoroughly. Check food with an internal thermometer to make sure it has reached the proper temperature. Cook foods all the way through to ensure all harmful bacteria are killed.
Store Foods Properly. Keep cold foods cold – on ice or in coolers. Keep hot foods hot – in warmers or on the grill.
Refrigerate Leftovers Immediately! Food is not safe to eat if it is left out for over 2 hours. If there is any doubt, throw the food out!
LCGHD urges you to follow these important food safety tips for a successful summer grilling season. For other healthy summertime tips follow us on Twitter @LorainCoHealth and join the Lorain County General Health District on Facebook.