Summer Food Safety Tips
According to recent statistics, about 48 million cases of food poisoning are reported each year, and most of them happen during the summer months. This is due to bacteria, which is the result of poor food handling practices and higher temperatures that can lead to disaster.
To that end, we have gathered some helpful food safety tips issued and endorsed by the FDA, CDC, FoodSafety.gov and FSIS.USDA to make sure that you know the steps to good food handling and preparations specifically as they pertain to meat, poultry and fish.
It begins at the grocery store before you even get to actually preparing your food.
What should you be aware of?
- Choose packages of meat, poultry and fish products that are properly sealed. Make sure that they have not been punctured or if frozen, that there are no signs of freezer burn.
- Always handle meat, poultry and fish properly. Place these products in a plastic bag to avoid cross contamination in your grocery cart and food bags.
- Make sure to take a cold storage container such as a cooler with you if you don’t plan to head home immediately after shopping. This will reduce bacterial growth, especially when there are higher outdoor temperatures.
- Place your cooler in the back seat, not the trunk of your car.
Refrigeration is our best defense against food spoiling. At home, proper storage of meat, poultry and fish will ensure they not just last longer, but remain fresh, tasty and bacteria free. The FDA offers these easy tips:
- Refrigerate or freeze these perishable products right away. (Stick to the two-hour rule, don’t leave meat, poultry, seafood or eggs out longer.)
- Keep temperature of refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C).
- Make sure to store according to label instructions.
- Don’t just rely on expiration dates – look for signs of spoilage. If it looks or smells suspicious, throw it out.
- Wash your hands and surface well. If you are away from home or outdoors, rinse with bottle water or use disposable towelettes (always be prepared).
- If grilling your meat, poultry or fish, make sure the grill has been properly cleaned before using.
- Cook at the right temperature. (Use a thermometer to check internal temperature of your meats and poultry.)
- Do not place raw food with cooked food.
- Refrigerate cooked perishables. Do not leave out for more than 2 hours.
Want to enjoy those leftovers the next day or the next week, these practical steps will make that possible:
- Place leftovers in plastic containers or bags, and refrigerate immediately.
- Discard any cooked meat, poultry or fish that has been out for more than 2 hours without proper refrigeration.
- Leftovers should be used within 4 days.
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References: Nofrillssupermarkets.com, helpwithcooking.com, FDA.gov,foodsaftey.gov, hpba.com, Familyeducation.com
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
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