Summer food safety

Last updated: July 2010

It's no picnic if you get sick. To stay safe:

  • Before touching any food and after handling raw meat, wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If they're unavailable, use a sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water before packing them. Wash melons before cutting and keep them cool. Melons support bacterial growth more readily than more acidic fruits.
  • Organize your coolers. Put drinks in one and perishables in another: The drinks cooler might be opened often. Make sure you have plenty of ice or ice packs. Wrap raw meat securely and put it in the bottom of the cooler so juices don't migrate. Place coolers in an air-conditioned car, not a hot trunk.
  • Separate cooked food from raw. Never reuse a marinade that held raw meat, and wash utensils used on raw meat before using them on other food.
  • Cook burgers to 160° F. (Take a meat thermometer.) Don't put cooked meat on a plate that held raw meat.
  • Don't let foods that can spoil stay in the danger zone, between 40° F and 140° F, for more than 2 hours or 1 hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90° F.

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