The Oregonian also reminds us today that summer temperatures mean more outside activities, including picnics and barbecues. Here are some food safety guidelines to help prevent food poisoning from the Washington Department of Health:
Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling food, after handling raw meat and before you eat. If soap and water aren’t available, use disposable wet wipes or a waterless hand sanitizer.
If a refrigerator isn’t available, use coolers with tight lids and keep them in the shade.
Bring only the amount of food to be eaten and try to bring food that doesn’t need to be kept hot or cold.
Raw meat should be stored in watertight containers away from other food. If taking meat to an off-site barbecue, do as much preparation at home where there is easier access to soap and water.
Use separate utensils, cutting boards and bowls for raw meat and wash hands often.
Chill salad ingredients before mixing potato, macaroni and other salads containing milk, pasta, eggs or meat. Once mixed, keep salads chilled until eaten.
Wash fruits and vegetables in running water before slicing. Fruits with thick rinds, such as melons, should also be rinsed because bacteria can be pulled into the edible parts while cutting. Once sliced, melons should be kept cold until eaten.
Cook meat thoroughly. Use food thermometers to check meat temperatures, because grilled meats can appear to be done on the outside though undercooked inside. Chicken should be cooked to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, or no pink inside; hamburgers to 160 degrees, or brown in the middle; beef roasts or steaks to 145 degrees; and fish to 145 degrees, or until opaque and flakes easily.
Serve hot food immediately, using a separate clean platter for grilled foods rather than reusing a plate that held raw meat. Leftovers should be refrigerated within one hour of cooking or thrown away to be safe.