Food Safety in the Summer

Food can spoil easily on hot summer days; follow these tips to prevent spoiling your fun with food borne illness. 

  • Plan picnics to include foods that don’t require refrigeration: fruit salad vs. pasta salad (mayo can spoil), PB and J vs. meat sandwiches
  • If the temperature outside is above 90 degrees, food cannot stay out for longer than 1 hour

 Practice Safe Food Handling Techniques:

  • Wash hands, utensils, and food preparation surfaces – moist towelettes are a quick and easy choice for your hands when playing outdoors
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables with water before packing
  • Serve safely keeping cold foods cold (<40 degrees) and hot foods hot (>140 degrees)
  • Don’t cross-contaminate: wash all surfaces very well that have touched raw meats and juices.  Keep raw meats wrapped so that juices don’t touch other foods
  • When preparing salads, chill ingredients before combining (even canned tuna should be chilled before mixing in the mayo!)

Transport Foods Safely:

  • Transport perishables as quickly as possible, and cook immediately or refrigerate
  • Keep perishables refrigerated until just before leaving
  • Consider packing beverages in a separate cooler from perishables
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood may be packed frozen so it stays colder longer
  • Plan food portions to avoid leftovers; place condiments in small containers
  • Place cold foods in an insulated cooler with ice packs and don’t pack up until you’re almost ready to leave. You can also nest perishables in bowls of ice to stay chilled
  • Carry your cooler in an air-conditioned car and place in the shade; keep the lid closed as much as possible
  • Discard leftovers if they have been out of the cooler for longer than 1 hour; if you have to question it – throw it out!

Written by Julie Katz Registered Dietitian- Baltimore, MD