Food safety for summer
by Dinethri Ramasundara APD AN
Summer is just around the corner and outdoor activities like BBQ’s, picnics, sporting events are definitely on the cards for everyone. I thought some important pointers on food safety would be of help to prevent food poisoning and food contamination when cooking outdoors and dealing with fresh produce for those meet and greets.
Warmer weather exposes foods to temperatures between 5 and 60 degrees, enabling bacteria grow more easily. Pets, dust, insects, poor food preparation, cooking and storage practices can also increase the risk of food poisoning.
Foods that have a higher risk of contamination are; raw and cooked meats, dairy, poultry, seafood, pre-made salads, fruit salads and ready to eat foods.
Food poisoning is no joke it can be life threatening for people of all ages especially those who are young children, pregnant, elderly or suffering from chronic diseases.
Good food safety practices
All year around:
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after you prepare food.
- Skip handling food if you are sick or have cuts or sores on your hands.
- Keep hot food hot (>60°C) and keep cold foods cold (<5°C) and keep them separated.
- Store raw food are away from the cooked hot meals.
- Defrost food in the fridge or microwave.
- Do not refreeze thawed food.
- When microwaving food make sure they are heated till piping hot.
- Store food appropriately.
- Do not overload the fridge.
- Clean your cooking or storage area after preparing or storing raw food.
- Use different cutting boards and knives when preparing meat and vegetables
- Avoid smoking in food areas.
- Eradicate pests, as they carry germs by cleaning the cooking area regularly and thoroughly.
- Keep food refrigerated till use for an example leave meat in the fridge till you start cooking
- Poultry should be cooked all the way through making sure there is no pink flesh
- Avoid buying dirty and cracked eggs
- Have separate tongs when barbequing
- If food is kept outside for more than 4 hours get rid of it don’t save it for later
- Keep your food covered
- Use an ice bath or an esky/cooler to keep meet cooler till use
- Prepare ingredients before hand: chop vegetables, marinate meats and wash salad leaves
- Consider using disposable wipes or a hand sanitiser if there is no safe water.