Tag Archives: food safety

Why Summer is Food Safety Central


Summer time is prime time to relax in a hammock or at the beach but it’s certainly not the time to relax food safety concerns.

Due to a variety of factors, most notably the sweltering temperatures outside, the website foodsafety.gov, ramps up consumer education efforts and reports that the risk of food born illness increases during the summer months.

The infamous ‘danger zone’ where bacteria and other bad bugs thrive and multiply lies between 40 degrees and 140 degrees F.


So, leaving picnic or backyard barbecue foods out in the summer heat is tempting fate.

Generally food safety experts advise foods not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours, but when the mercury reaches 90 that time frame is shortened to no more than one hour.

The same goes for carrying groceries home in the car or transporting restaurant leftovers to your home refrigerator. Get all foods home in under an hour, or place them on ice in a cooler in your car.

Make sure not to invite a bout of food borne illness to your summer festivities, even if you have to politely remind your host.

Here are some important reminders from foodsafety.gov.

When bringing food to a picnic or cookout:

  • Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs.  Frozen food can also be used as a cold source.
  • Foods that need to be kept cold include raw meat, poultry, and seafood; deli and luncheon meats or sandwiches; summer salads (tuna, chicken, egg, pasta, or seafood); cut up fruit and vegetables; and perishable dairy products.
  • A full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than a partially filled one.  When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter.
  • Avoid opening the cooler repeatedly so that your food stays colder longer.

When cooking on the grill:

  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and ready-to-eat items like vegetables or bread.
  • Keep perishable food cold until it is ready to cook.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly to their safe minimum internal temperatures
    • Beef, Pork, Lamb, & Veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145 °F with a 3 minute rest time
    • Ground meats: 160 °F
    • Whole poultry, poultry breasts, & ground poultry: 165 °F
  • Always use a fresh, clean plate and tongs for serving cooked food. Never reuse items that touched raw meat or poultry to serve the food once it is cooked.

When serving food outdoors:

  • Perishable food should not sit out for more than two hours.  In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should NEVER sit out for more than one hour.

Serve cold food in small portions, and keep the rest in the cooler.  After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served – at 140 °F or warmer.


If there is still plenty of ice in the cooler when you get home, and the food did not sit out at the picnic, the food is still safe to store in the refrigerator.



Share this on: facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest


If you like your eggs sunny side up with the yolk a little runny you’re a gambler. Raw and undercooked eggs have been on the watch list of foods potentially contaminated with salmonella bacteria and other bad bugs that cause food poisoning for years. But, this month’s nationwide recall of shell eggs suspected to be the source of a recent four-fold spike in the number of Salmonella Enteritidis infections has raised the red flag even higher. While no cases of Salmonella Enteritidis have yet been reported in Georgia, the state is included in the recall.
“No sunny side up eggs anymore,” says noted food safety expert Missy Cody, PhD RD, professor emeritus Georgia State University, “Or undercooked scrambled eggs, unless they’re made with a pasteurized egg product.” When eggs are pasteurized, they are heated to a temperature high enough to kill bacteria. So, pasteurized products such as frozen and liquid eggs are safe to consume even when undercooked or used raw in making ice cream or hollandaise sauce, for instance.
Since, eggs are among the most nutritious and economical foods on the menu; here’s a half dozen tips to help you safely enjoy those delicious dozens.
1. Keep eggs refrigerated at all times. Cody cautions, “And beware of breakfast places that keep raw eggs near the hot griddle. The heat will make salmonella which may be in the eggs grow much faster.” Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
2. Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or undercooked, unpasteurized eggs. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in any recipe (such as Hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise or Caesar salad dressing) that may call for raw eggs.
3. Avoid eating raw eggs. No matter how tempting, avoid licking the cake batter off the spoon! Make sure shell eggs used in baked goods or casseroles are thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Meringue-topped pies and soufflés should be baked at 350 degrees F for at least 15 minutes.
4. Sunny side up not a bright idea. Whether boiled, poached or fried; eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm and eaten promptly after cooking. Undercooked egg whites and yolks have been associated with outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis infections.
5. You can’t judge a “good egg”. Contaminated eggs will not smell, look or taste any different from normal eggs. However, always discard cracked or dirty eggs.
6. Some are at higher risk for food poisoning. Eating raw or undercooked eggs should be avoided by young children, pregnant women, elderly and those with weakened immune systems due to serious illness. Good timing-September is The National Restaurant Association’s National Food Safety Education Month. The 2010 theme is High Risk Customers: Serve Your Fare with Extra Care.”
Sources: www.foodsafety.gov and www.cdc.gov

Share this on: facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest