September 25, 2021

Summer Food Safety tips from the North Dakota Department of Health

Summer food safety tips are being offered by the North Dakota Department of Health. Proper food handling and preparation can go a long way towards preventing illness this summer.

Summer Food Safety tips from the North Dakota Department of Health

Pathogens grow more rapidly in hot weather. Perishable foods can harbor these dangerous bacteria, and can make you sick if food isn’t properly cooked or is held at unsafe temperatures.

Food safety recommendations include: washing your hands and surfaces often, keeping fresh produce separate from uncooked meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs, and always rinsing fresh fruits and veggies under clean running water before preparing or eating them.

You should also strive to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. The danger zone is between 40°F to 140°F. In this range, bacteria grow rapidly and can double in number every 20 minutes. It only takes a few cells of E. coli bacteria, for instance, to make you very sick.

Use a food thermometer every time you cook meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. All ground meats should be cooked to 160°F, with the exception of ground chicken and turkey, which should be cooked to 165°F. Cook whole cuts of poultry to 165°F. Steaks, roasts, and chops should be cooked to 145°F with a three minute stand time so the temperature rises to 150°F. And seafood should be cooked to 145°F. Cook egg dishes to 160°F.

Once you have served food, it should be refrigerated no longer than two hours later. This time shrinks to one hour when the air temperature is above 90°F. If food is left out longer, throw it away. Your cooler, even when packed with ice or frozen gel packs, cannot cool food down fast enough to keep it safe.

Only store leftovers in your refrigerator up to four days. At that point, throw them out or freeze them for longer storage. And reheat leftovers to 165°F and check that temperature with a food thermometer.

Stay safe and healthy this season with these summer food safety tips.

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