Summer is in full swing, and it is time to enjoy the outdoors. As you plan pool parties, boating outings and outdoor picnics, remember warm weather conditions can cause food to spoil. Many people suffer food poisoning from contaminated food. Food poisoning, or foodborne illness, is caused by food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or toxins. The Jacksonville personal injury lawyers at Glober Law Firm offer eight tips to help avoid foodborne illnesses while eating outdoors:
- Always Wash Hands: The Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) suggests washing hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before touching food.
- Wash Fruits and Vegetables: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends rinsing fresh fruits and vegetables in running tap water and drying with a clean cloth or a paper towel. Make sure to rub fruits and vegetables with firm skins or use a vegetable brush for thorough cleaning. Also remember to rinse the parts of the fruits and vegetables that you don’t plan to eat, including rinds and and skins.
- Marinate Food in a Refrigerator: When marinating food for extra flavor, make sure to marinate in a refrigerator. Never use the same sauce you used to marinate raw food on cooked foods. If you want extra sauce for your cooked foods, reserve a portion of the marinade prior to adding raw foods.
- Cook Foods Thoroughly: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services food blog, Foodsafety.gov, reminds us to cook chicken and turkey to 165 degrees, ground beef, veal, lamb and pork to 160 degrees and whole cuts of pork to 145 degrees. Cook beef, veal and lamb to 145 degrees.* Let pork rest for three minutes prior to cutting or serving. Use a food thermometer to ensure you have cooked foods to proper temperatures.
- Don’t Use Preparation Plates or Utensils Twice: Prevent cross contamination by changing plates and utensils while preparing foods and keeping juices from raw foods away from those you aren’t cooking (such as salads or hamburger toppings). PFSE also reminds not to put cooked food items on the same plates that held raw food.
- Bring Extra Ice and Freezer Packs: Keep cold foods cold with extra ice and freezer packs. The FDA recommends keeping cold foods at 40 degrees or below to inhibit growth of bacteria. Pack meat and seafood frozen to ensure it stays colder longer, but remember to safely defrost before cooking. Use separate coolers for food and drinks so food won’t spoil while people grab more lemonade or iced tea.
- Don’t Leave Food Out Long: According to the USDA, you should not leave food out for more than one hour when the temperature tops 90 degrees. Even when the weather is cool, don’t let food sit outside for more than two hours.*
- Safely Store Leftovers: Have a lot of food leftover after your outdoor fun? While Foodsafety.gov says frozen food remains safe indefinitely, refrigerated foods do not have a long lifespan. Click here to see leftover storage times.
With just a few quick and easy precautions, you can make sure your outdoor picnic is enjoyable. While it may take a few extra steps to ensure food safety, the extra time will ensure everyone has a happy and healthy outdoor dining experience.
The contents of these pages are provided for educational and informational purposes only and are not to be construed as legal advice.
Glober Law Firm is a Jacksonville personal injury law firm representing victims of auto accidents, bicycle accidents, dog bites and attacks, head and spinal cord injuries, motorcycle accidents, negligent hiring, negligent security, pedestrian accidents, physical assaults, premises liability, slip and fall accidents and wrongful death.
*All temperatures are in Fahrenheit.