October 6, 2020

Memorial Day Food Safety Tips From The USDA To Stay Safe and Healthy

The USDA is offering Memorial Day food safety tips to help keep you. safe and healthy. This holiday weekend is not like other years because of the coronavirus pandemic, but don’t forget about food safety while you observe the holiday.

Memorial Day Food Safety Tips From The USDA To Stay Safe and Healthy

Remember that if the weather is hot and humid, perishable foods can only be out of refrigeration for one hour before bacteria start to grow rapidly. Those foods include meat and poultry, dips and cold salads, and cut fruits and vegetables. About 85% of respondents to a recent USDA survey said they don’t nest cold foods in ice when served. Keeping cold foods cold is important for food safety.

In that same survey, 66% of respondents said they did. not keep cooked foods, such as burgers and hot dogs, warm after cooking. Those foods need to be kept above 140°F after cooking until they are eaten or, again, dangerous bacteria will start to grow. Move grilled foods to the side of the grill to keep them hot rather than removing them from the grill entirely.

Your outdoor kitchen should have the same food safety protocols in place as your indoor kitchen. You need running water or hand sanitizers. And that hand sanitizer has to be at least 60% alcohol to be effective. Keep paper towels on hand for easy cleanup.

And follow the traditional four steps to food safety: Clean, Cook, Chill, and Separate. Clean regularly while you are cooking. Wash your hands, and clean surfaces and utensils. Cook food to a safe final internal temperature, and refer to the USDA’s cooking charts so you know what those temperatures are. Chill foods that are to be kept food, and refrigerate cooked perishable foods within 2 hours, or 1 hour if the ambient air temperature is 90°F or higher. And avoid cross-contamination by keeping uncooked raw foods such as meats and poultry away from foods that are eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables.

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