The summer is a great time for lots of picnics, barbecues, and fun outdoor activities with family and friends. However, these fun events present the chance for foodborne bacteria to thrive. It is an exciting time for everyone when the temperature rises in the summer months, but rising temperatures also cause bacteria to multiply rapidly.
In order to prevent harm and protect yourself and loved ones in the summer heat against foodborne illness, handling food safely and properly is critical. The Food and Drug Association (FDA) has provided user-friendly guidelines for keeping everyone safe and healthy during the upcoming summer months.
Simple Strategies for Packing & Transporting Food
- Keep refrigerated food in a cooler.Cold food needs to stay cold or it will become hazardous to eat. You can keep food cold simply with ice in a cooler, or with frozen gel packages. To prevent bacterial growth, the temperature in the cooler needs to be 40°F or below. Keep meat, seafood, and poultry in the cooler while still frozen so they remain colder longer.
- Clean fruits and vegetables. Be sure to clean all produce before packing the cooler. Rinse fruits and veggies under tap water, even the ones with skins that are not consumed. Those that have firm skin should be washed with a vegetable brush. Be sure to dry produce with a clean towel.