As we move into the warmer months, your risk for food-borne illness increases, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.
July 4 is coming up fast, and most of us will be enjoying the holiday by cooking outdoors, but cooking food in warmer weather can be tricky. Bacteria multiplies faster in warmer weather, and preparing food outdoors makes safe food handling more difficult. If your meal is not handled properly, you could put your family at risk for food-borne illnesses, such as E.coli.
22News went to Paul and Elizabeth’s Restaurant in Northampton, where Chef Nate Sustick explained the safety rules of his kitchen.
“Having our employees wash their hands after doing tasks, changing gloves after tasks, using reputable distributors and always knowing who you are buying from,” Sustick said.
Here are four simple steps to help keep your family safe: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.
- CLEAN: Make sure you keep your cooking surfaces clean, in order to avoid possible contamination.
- SEPARATE: Keep raw and cooked ingredients, especially meats, separate, in order to avoid cross-contamination.
- COOK: Make sure you cook meats to a safe internal temperature- 165 degrees for ground meat and poultry, 145 for steaks, pork, and seafood.
- CHILL: Be sure to chill any leftovers, in order to prevent bacteria growth and spoilage.
Never leave food out of the refrigerator more than two hours. If the temperature outside is more than 90 degrees, don’t exceed an hour of the food being outside.
According to the U.S.D.A., warmer temperatures and higher humidity are ideal for bacterial growth. Food safety experts suggest cooking food long enough, and at a high temperature, to kill harmful bacteria.