Safe Food in the Summer

Posted on July 6, 2011


We have had beautiful weather this week. With the warm weather here, we need to pay more attention to how we handle, prepare, and cook food in order to try to protect it from harmful bacteria. I have a sensitive stomach, so following these rules are  important to me but even regardless of how sensitive your stomach is, we all want to prevent food poisoning and other stomach bugs. Food positioning is both frequent and serious. Around 76 million cases of food poisoning occur each year.  Here are some tips to protect you:

Keep meat cold

  • Most bacteria grow in warm, moist environments. It is important to keep meats as cold as possible, so when you are food shopping try to pick up meats last.
  • When marinating meats it is better to have them marinate in the refrigerator instead of on the counter. Remember that poultry or diced meat can marinate for up to 2 days, but beef, veal, pork, lamb roasts, and steaks can marinade in the fridge for 5 days.
  • In 90 degree weather food should not sit out longer than one hour. Keep food out of direct sunlight.

Cook Meats to Correct Temperature

  • Many people look at their meat to indicate that it has finished cooking; however you should rely on the temperature of the meat instead of the color.  Here are the correct temperatures at which meats should cook. Also keep in mind that charring food is not recommended as some studies suggest that it can increase your risk of cancer.
  • Poultry 165 °F | Hamburgers- 160 °F | Veal, beef, lamb (most cuts of meat) – medium rate 145 °F, Medium 160°F| All cuts of pork: 160 °F| Whole cuts of pork – 145 °F (also needs 3 minutes rest time).

Lastly you should keep the kitchen clean, as they come in contact with juices from meats, and other forms of bacteria. Make sure you clean the fridge, and disinfect the sink and countertops frequently.

If you have any questions please call us at the Mayors Health Line (617-534-5050). Here is an additional resource: the FDA’s Barbecue Bliss: Keeping Bacteria at Bay.

Posted in: Food, Health