Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and many are preparing for outdoor celebrations and picnics. As the summer season begins, it’s important to keep food safety in mind to prevent spoilage and food poisoning from ruining the festival.
To make food safe to eat, it is essential to follow some important guidelines.
Proper hand washing:
- Follow proper hand washing procedures before, during and after food preparation.
- Wet your hands, lather in soap and rub for 20 seconds, rinse and dry.
2 hour rule:
- Refrigerate perishables within 2 hours (1 hour if temperature is 90°F or higher).
- To prevent food poisoning, food that has been left out for more than 2 hours should be discarded.
Use a food grade thermometer.
- Check the temperature inside with a food thermometer to eat safely.
- Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, or the side of a hamburger.
- Different foods have specific temperature requirements (steak, minced meat, poultry, etc.).
Separation of raw meat and ready-to-eat food:
- Use separate coolers for raw meat/poultry and convenience foods.
- Have separate plates and utensils for handling raw and cooked foods.
- Perishable foods should not be exposed to temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 1 hour.
- Store cold foods on ice, in the cooler, or in the refrigerator/freezer.
- Keep hot perishables above 140°F until consumption.
Reheat food before serving:
- Cover food in microwave and rotate to heat evenly.
- After reheating, check the internal temperature with a food thermometer.
- Bring to a boil when reheating sauces, soups, and gravies.
- Avoid using the slow cooker for reheating.
As you prepare for your Memorial Day celebrations, keep these outdoor food safety tips in mind to protect yourself and your loved ones from food poisoning. By following these guidelines, your picnic or gathering will be safe and enjoyable for all involved.
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