Summertime brings great opportunities for family and friends to get together. School is out, vacation is in! Our calendars are overloaded with graduations, holidays, reunions, pool parties, picnics and backyard BBQ.
The one thing in common with all these events is food! Many of these are potluck affairs. Snacks abound and the grill is fired up and ready to go. On such important occasions, the last thing you want is to get (or give guests) a tummy ache, or worse.
Everyone who has had a bout with food poisoning knows the not-so-pleasant side effects of eating the right thing at the wrong time. Actually, time is the key to avoiding most foodborne illness associated with outdoor parties.
Here are some tips to help you make keep your party foodie friendly!
- Cook grilled food until it reaches the proper temperature. A grill probe type thermometer is a wise investment. Safe minimal internal temperature for hamburgers is 155° F, fish, pork chops and beef steaks is 145° F and poultry 165° F.
- Keep cooked food hot on side of grill or in a crockpot held at 135° F or higher.
- Only put out small amounts of food at a time and keep extra food refrigerated. Keep food iced if possible by putting trays on ice and partially submerge bowls in ice.
- Never refill containers. Combining foods from different times can contaminate your dish.
- Keep cold foods stored under 40° F and toss any food left out longer than 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90° F).
- Only pack leftovers for guests from extra refrigerated supplies.
- Keep “doggie bag” refrigerated until guests depart.
- Transporting food in a cooler is the best method, but transporting food in a sealed container inside a bag with ice is okay for short distances. Remember that vehicles absorb and store added heat.
Have a safe summer and if you have any extra, throw a burger on for me!