Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Remember The Importance Of Food Safety This Summer

This post was made possible through the support of Element Associates. All opinions are my own.

 Food poisoning is not simply an upset stomach; it is a serious public health threat in America. In fact, the CDC estimates that about 1 in 6 Americans (about 48 million people) could suffer from foodborne illness this year. The result is approximately 128,000 hospitalizations and sadly, an estimated 3,000 deaths!
Because warm weather events often present an opportunity for bacteria to thrive and high temperatures cause bacteria to multiply more rapidly, the summer months typically see a spike in reports of foodborne illness and outbreaks.
Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of families are not using a food thermometer regularly to check the temperature of meat and poultry and one-third (33 percent) are not using different or freshly cleaned cutting boards to prevent cross-contamination between different food products (such as raw meat and produce). I'm one of those two-thirds and I am going to try harder in the future because of the importance of food safety.
Recipes for Disaster: BBQ
Summer Food Safety Tips from Martie Duncan of Food Network Star:
Visit to learn about best food safety practices, utilize “Ask Karen,” an online database with nearly 1,500 answers to specific questions related to preventing foodborne illnesses, in both English and Spanish, or to call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. Go to to get important tips about food safety.
Check out USDA’s tips for Safe Grilling
I live in Florida and it gets extremely hot in the Summertime. Food Safety is very important when your food can spoil faster in hot weather.
Make sure you know that seeing is not believing. You can grill a hamburger. It can look done on the outside, but can be raw on the inside. It is important to use a food thermometer to make sure your food is done. We know more information than we did in the past. My mother fed us raw hamburger with salt on it. Today, we know it is a no no. You want to make sure your food is cooked thoroughly to protect you and your kids from food poisoning and other problems that can occur.
Top Tips for Healthy Summer Picnics and Camping Trips:
Bring water for cleaning if none will be available at the picnic or camping site. Pack clean, wet, disposable cloths or moist towelettes and paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces.
Carry cold perishable food like raw hamburger patties, sausages, and chicken in an insulated cooler packed with several inches of ice, frozen gel packs, or containers of ice.
Be sure raw meat and poultry are wrapped securely to prevent their juices from cross-contaminating ready-to-eat food. If possible, store these foods near the bottom of the cooler, so that juices don't contaminate other foods in the cooler.
If you can't keep hot food hot during the drive to your location, plan and chill the food in the refrigerator before packing it in a cooler. Reheat the food to 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
A general rule of thumb for entertaining: keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Keep cold foods chilled to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below and hot foods heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
The two-hour rule is also in effect: food should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. If bringing hot take-out food (like chicken fingers, wings etc.), eat it within 2 hours of purchase (1 hour if the temperature is above 90 °F).
Instead of using large serving bowls, serve dips and items with dairy in smaller containers. Make several in advance and keep them chilled in the refrigerator or coolers until you need them.
Offer serving spoons and small plates to reduce opportunity for guests to eat items like dip and guacamole directly from the serving container (double-dipping is a no-no and can increase the chances for food contamination).
Make sure you come around to the Twitter Party on June 30th at 1 PM EST using hashtag #FoodSafe4th. Hosts include: @martieparty @buzzmommy @usdafoodsafety
Make sure you tell your friends about the importance of food safety. Keep you and your family safe this summer.

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