Memorial Day and the beginning of Summer is here!  The smells of cookouts with lots of delicious foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, and ribs will soon fill the air nearly every weekend into the early Fall.  As we think about traveling to or gathering with friends in the summer heat to swim and play volleyball and lawn darts, we should give some thoughts to some of the safety observances that surround the hundreds of pounds of cooked food that we will soon consume.  As a guest or as the host of a summer Barbecue we must take many precautions like grill safety, fire safety, cooking safety, firework safety and many others that we have written about in the past here at FBinsure.  The one that always bothers me most when attending these kinds of events are the ones where the cooked food is left covered but outdoors sitting for guests to take as they get hungry.  Food left outdoors gives me the creeps and I always think twice before grabbing a charcoal briquette (otherwise known as a overcooked burger) that has congealed cheese on top.

Here are some safety tips and a link to a food safety myth buster article that should help you keep food and guests safe at your next summer gathering.

Keeping Your Food Safe

 Focus on clean—wash hands and surfaces often:

  • Always wash hands with soap and warm water before handling food.
  • Always wash cutting boards, knives, utensils, dishes and countertops used to cut meat with soapy, hot water right away—before you use them for other foods.
  • Consider using paper towels or disposable wipes to clean up kitchen surfaces.

Don’t cross-contaminate:

  • Store raw meat, chicken, turkey and seafood in a sealed,
    wrapped container in the refrigerator.
  • Keep raw meat, chicken, turkey and seafood away
    from foods that will not be cooked and foods that are
    already cooked.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate or cutting
    board that previously held raw meat, chicken, turkey
    or seafood.

Cook to proper temperatures:

  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meats, chicken,
    turkey, fish and casseroles are cooked to a safe
    internal temperature.

    • Cook roasts and steaks to at least 145 degrees F.
    • Cook ground meat to at least 160 degrees F.
    • Cook whole chicken or turkey to 180 degrees F.
  • Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny.
    Don’t use recipes in which eggs remain raw or only
    partially cooked.
  • Cook fish until it flakes easily with a fork.

Refrigerate properly:

  • Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftover foods right away.
  • Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below.
    Don’t pack it too full; cool air needs to circulate.

For additional information on common facts vs. myths about food safety, you can visit this site: 


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