The reliably warmer weather and daylight savings create so many great opportunities to get outdoors during summer, which is why alfresco breakfasts, lunchtime picnics and evening BBQs are often the norm during summer time. You need to be mindful however, that dining outdoors in the heat can encourage bacteria to grow in food. And this risk applies even if you are cooking a meal indoors. Here are a few tips for optimal food safety this summer.
Keep things clean
In summer, we tend to cook many different foods and then take them outdoors to enjoy. For sanitary reasons, you need to keep everything clean from the time you start cooking until you put away the leftovers.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
- Wash all utensils used for cooking, before reusing them to serve foods.
- Place foods in washed, airtight containers before transporting them.
- Always wash fruits and vegetables before serving them raw.
If you’re eating outdoors, it can be tempting to pack all of your food together, but this can be risky. All ready-to-eat and raw foods should be kept separate, and this is especially important if you are taking raw meats to be cooked on outdoor BBQs. Use two different coolers to store ready-to-eat and raw foods. Summer is often filled with outdoor events and picnics, but always remember that the warmer weather can bring with it, serious food dangers. To help keep you and your family safe all summer long, follow proper food safety precautions, which includes keeping foods cool enough, thoroughly washing surfaces and utensils, and avoiding crosscontamination.
Keep an eye on the temperature
Taking food outdoors can cause problems with temperature because when food reaches the danger zone (i.e. between 5°C and 60°C), it can harbour bacteria. Therefore, if you plan to eat outdoors, follow these important guidelines:
- Always keep foods cold. That may mean using a cooler full of ice to store the food before and after eating.
- Food should never be left out for more than two hours before refrigerating.
- Always throw out any foods that have been left out for more than two hours.
When you go grocery shopping,you also need to keep the outdoortemperatures in mind, so always tryto use a cooler bag. This will keep the items cool and safe while you shop, and then until you get home. Promptly refrigerate the foods as soon as you get home.
THE AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF FOOD SAFETY (AIFS)
The AIFS is Australia’s leading provider of food safety education and training. Each year the AIFS helps thousands of Australian organisations protect their customers and maintain food safety compliance. To learn more visit www.foodsafety.com.au