What do fun summertime activities like boating, picnicking, hiking and vacation all have in common (aside from plenty of time in the sun, of course)? The answer is simple: food. There are few events or happenings in summer that don’t involve some sort of cookout or barbecue. Unfortunately, foodborne illnesses double during the summer months. And anyone that has experienced food poisoning can attest to how miserable it is.
Here are four tips for to keep your food safety at the center of any summer adventure:
1. Consider your coolers
Coolers are typically everywhere during a summer cookout. Try and keep your cooler as full as possible; any excess space will throw off the internal temperature. Make sure you keep coolers away from direct sunlight, and, when driving, keep your cooler out of the trunk as it’s generally warmer. Finally, it’s a good idea to have separate coolers for water and food, as the former will be opened more often, and that can mess with the temperature.
2. Don’t forget to wash
The most effective way to prevent foodborne illnesses during the summer (and all seasons) is to wash everything while cooking. That list starts with your hands, and it’s important to scrub all the way up your forearms for maximum germ fighting. Any produce that needs to be sliced should be washed beforehand. Even reusable grocery bags, which can be used for storage and transportation, need to be washed to prevent bacterial transfer.
3. Purchase with caution
Many instances of foodborne illness happen because people didn’t prepare food properly. That’s because they were distracted by a summer activity or misjudged the effects of humidity and temperature. Only choose the freshest food possible, and if you have any doubt over its quality, don’t buy that item. It’s important to read labels on all items, but especially safe handling instructions for poultry and meat.
4. Watch the temperature
It may seem fairly obvious that cold foods should be cold and hot foods need to be hot. But did you know the approximate temperature marks you should reach with each dish? Dishes like salad, pies and anything with eggs must be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Warmer items, like your burgers, hot dogs and poultry, have to hover around 140 degrees. To make sure you’re hitting the mark, always keep a thermometer around during your cookout.
No matter how safe you might be, sometimes these foodborne illnesses are unavoidable. Fortunately, you can always visit your nearest AppleCare clinic. We are fully equipped to treat you and your family with compassionate, convenient care when you need it most.