August 9, 2022

Fall Food Safety Tips From Public Health Officials

Fall is here, but even though the temperatures are cooler, food safety is still an issue. If you are participating in specific fall activities, follow the government’s fall food safety tips to keep your family safe.

Fall Food Safety

People like to go apple picking, tailgate at football games, and go hiking and camping in the fall. The first step in preparing foods for these activities and in general is to make sure your hands are clean. Poor hand hygiene can cross-contaminate surfaces in your kitchen, such as refrigerator handles and countertops, with pathogenic bacteria. Wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water and dry with a clean towel.

Raw meat and poultry are the most problematic foods. Make sure to use separate plates, utensils, and cutting boards when you work with these foods. Cook them to a safe final internal temperature. And remember to leave them out of refrigeration less than two hours.

When you’re outdoors, make sure you have a cold source, such as frozen gel packs or frozen water bottles. Non-perishable foods such as trail mix, energy bars, and canned tuna are best for snacks.

If you are going to go to a tailgate party, make sure that you pack your cooler well. Meat and poultry items should be wrapped separately and placed at the bottom of the cooler. That way juices won’t drip onto other foods, and they will stay cooler.

Bring your food thermometer with you when you’re grilling outside. The only way to make sure food is safe to eat is with a thermometer. Color is not a good indicator of doneness. Meat browns faster on the grill, so remember to use that thermometer.

At a potluck, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Put food out in batches to make sure they aren’t sitting out longer than two hours.

And if you’re going to a petting zoo or apple picking, remember to keep an eye on the kids. Children have been sickened with serious infections after touching animals such as goats, which can carry pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli. And never drink unpasteurized juice, because it can be contaminated with pathogens. Two years ago, Pritzker Hageman law firm won $7.5 million on behalf of a child sickened with an E. coli infection after visiting a pumpkin patch.

So remember these fall food safety tips and enjoy the season.

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