Per the USDA, food-borne illnesses are more common in the summer months. Picnics and outdoor family gatherings are good reasons why it increases. Temperatures are warmer and tend to be ideal for the formation of bacteria. Bacteria that cause food poisoning grow best at temperatures of 90 to 110. In the sun, it's easy to maintain that temperature range.
Food safety is important throughout the year. It's really important to be cautious when packing a picnic or planning an outdoor gathering.
Here are the areas where you need to be extra cautious.
Don't Ignore Food Safety Practices With Salads
Many people don't think of mayonnaise as being an ingredient to keep cold. After all, it's in the normal aisles in a grocery store. Mayonnaise contains eggs. When mixed into something like a potato salad, the ingredients together can grow bacteria and lead to food poisoning. All salads should be kept cold at 40 degrees F or lower.
Ice packs within a cooler will keep salads from warming up. If possible, save up ice packs from meal kit services. Those larger ice packs will last hours, if not days, in a cooler. Your perishable items stay nice and cold for the entire day.
Do Not Cross-Contaminate
You have your burgers on a platter and head outside to the grill. Before the burgers finish cooking, have you washed that platter? If not, you're asking for cross-contamination. The raw meat juices will contaminate the burgers.
You need to wash any utensils that touch raw meat before you use it on cooked meats. If you're going on a picnic, the raw meats you bring cannot be on top of cooked foods. Bring two coolers. One should have the raw meats. When you're done, use hot, soapy water to wash out the raw meat cooler.
Use an Instant-Read Thermometer
Do not remove meats from the grill until you've checked the internal temperature. Chicken and turkey need to be at 165 degrees F. Hamburgers should be cooked to 160 degrees F. Steaks and pork must be cooked to a minimum of 145 degrees. Use the guide at FoodSafety.gov to ensure you're cooking meats to the right temperature.
If you care for your mom or dad, you may find it hard to focus on food safety when planning an outing. You can't let it lapse. Hire a caregiver to provide senior care services every now and then. You'll get a break and be able to focus on planning the outdoor meal. Call our senior care agency to discuss respite care services.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Northbrook IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.