Summer Food Safety

The summertime is most commonly associated with food hazards because so many meals are enjoyed outdoors where the heat can allow bacteria to grow
March 12, 2013

The summertime is most commonly associated with food hazards because so many meals are enjoyed outdoors where the heat can allow bacteria to grow.

Even if you are cooking a meal indoors, you must be more aware of the dangers that come with warm weather. To avoid any safety concerns, be sure to follow proper precautions.

Keep Things Clean

Because you may cook many different foods and then take them outdoors to enjoy, sanitation becomes a bigger issue. You need to keep everything clean from the time you start cooking until you put away the leftovers.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Wash all utensils you used for cooking before you use them to serve foods
  • Place foods in washed, airtight containers before transporting them
  • Always wash fruits and vegetables before serving them raw

When you take foods outdoors, ensure that all serving products, including plates and utensils, have been properly washed. Additionally, make sure eating surfaces like picnic tables have been cleaned as well.

Watch the Temperatures

Taking food outdoors can cause problems with temperature. When food reaches the danger zone, it can harbour bacteria. If you will be eating outdoors, follow these important guidelines:

  • Always keep foods cold. That may mean using a cooler full of ice to store the food before and after eating
  • Food should never be left out for more than two hours before refrigerating
  • Always throw out any foods that have been left out for more than that two-hour span

When you go grocery shopping, you also have to keep the outdoor temperatures in mind. It is best to use a cooler bag when you go shopping. This will keep the items cool and safe while you shop and then while you get home. Promptly refrigerate the foods as soon as you get home as well.

Don’t Cross-Contaminate

Because you may be eating outdoors, it can be tempting to pack all the food together, but this can be a problem. All cooked and uncooked foods could be kept separate. This is especially true if you are taking raw meats to be cooked on outdoor barbeques. Use two different coolers to store cooked and raw foods.

The summer often involves outdoor events and picnics. The warm weather can also bring food dangers. To ensure that you and your family remain safe, follow proper food safety precautions. This includes keeping foods cool enough, washing surfaces and utensils, and avoiding cross-contamination.