Summertime is the season for pool parties, barbecues, picnics and other outdoor family fun. These events are a great opportunity to get together with friends and family and share a meal. However, our hot outdoor temperatures can result in the rapid growth of dangerous bacteria on food, which could lead to foodborne illness. Did you know that one out of six Americans will get sick this year from contaminated foods or beverages? You can take simple steps to ensure the food served at your summer events is safe to eat:
- Clean all food contact surfaces and your hands with soap and warm water before preparing food.
- Cook foods thoroughly by using a thermometer to measure the final cooking temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the product and check that it has reached the minimum cooking temperature of 165°F for poultry, 160°F for ground meats, 155°F for steaks, and 145°F for seafood.
- Separate plates and utensils used for raw food from those used for cooked food to prevent cross contamination.
- Chill foods promptly if you won’t eat them immediately. Never let food set out at room temperature.
Check out some food safety resources like our Safe Grilling and 4th of July Food Safety fact sheets on our Food Safety & Environmental Services Program website. By increasing food safety knowledge and taking action, you can prevent foodborne illness at your summertime event.