August 16, 2022

With Warmer Weather Here, Keep Food Safety in Mind

With warmer weather here at last, it’s important to keep food safety in mind with these tips from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Picnics and barbecues mean that you are eating and preparing food in weather more conducive to the growth of potentially harmful bacteria.

With Warmer Weather Here, Keep Food Safety in Mind

You should always take precautions when preparing, holding, and serving foods, but those precautions are especially important when the ambient air temperature is high. Tina Slawinski, MDARD’s Food and Dairy Division Director, said in a statement, “Food which hasn’t been cooked or stored properly can cause mild foodborne illness, but it can also lead to serious illness or even death. Whether you’re packing a picnic for a sporting event or outdoor recreation, or planning a backyard barbecue, it’s crucial to follow simple food safety tips to protect your family and friends from foodborne illness.”

First of all, wash your hands often. If you don’t have access to clean running water and soap, use hand sanitizer. Do as much food preparation as possible at home to keep food clean and safe. And always pack your cooler with plenty of ice.

Keep raw foods such as meats and poultry separate from foods that are ready to eat. Cook foods to safe final internal temperatures using a food thermometer. And remember that hot food should be kept as hot as possible, and cold foods as cold as possible. Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours after cooking. That time decreases to one hour when the air temperature is above 90°F.

If someone does get sick, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of foodborne illness and contact a doctor as appropriate. Many of these illnesses are reportable conditions, which means that heath departments must be notified.  Public health officials work with restaurants, cafeteria, food vendors, grocery stores, and suppliers when an outbreak is suspected to ensure food safety.

Follow these tips to stay safe during the warmer weather in the spring and summer months.

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