3 Steps to Avoid This Common Summer Illness

Get ready to make the most of your summer dining experiences! As the temperature rises and the days get longer, people worldwide look forward to enjoying the great outdoors. Whether you’re planning a poolside barbecue or a picnic in the park, summertime is all about outdoor dining. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks of foodborne illnesses that come with the heat and humidity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases of food poisoning tend to peak during the summer months. In this article, learn all about the essential tips to ensure you can indulge in safe and delicious meals throughout the summer!

Safely stored food in glass containers in fridge

Smart Storage

Keep your food safe from harmful bacteria this summer by following proper food storage practices. With warmer temperatures, bacteria multiply at a faster rate, increasing the risk of food contamination during the summer more than in any other season. To start, be sure not to leave perishable items such as meat, dairy, and eggs out at room temperature for more than two hours. However, when the thermometer hits 90°F or higher, that safe duration is reduced to just one hour. Don’t forget to account for the time spent during food preparation, not just while serving or enjoying the meal. 

Many people also forget about the condiments! Mayonnaise-based spreads, often found in sandwiches and salads, can become a breeding ground for bacteria if left out for too long. To keep your food safe, refrigerate perishable condiments until you’re ready to use them. And be sure to replenish smaller containers from larger containers stored in a cooler regularly. This simple practice will keep your condiments fresh and at a safe temperature.

Cook Meat to Perfection

Most people would agree summertime and grilling go hand in hand! But before you dive into that juicy piece of meat, make sure it’s cooked to perfection. Whether you’re a barbecue pro or a campfire enthusiast, it’s crucial to cook your meat thoroughly to ensure it’s safe to eat. Grilling can be tricky, as the meat can easily brown on the outside without fully cooking on the inside. That’s where a meat thermometer comes to the rescue- it provides accurate readings of the internal temperature, guaranteeing that your meat reaches a safe level of doneness.

Each type of meat has its own recommended internal temperature for safe consumption. Chicken and turkey should hit 165°F, ground meats 160°F, and steaks, roasts, and fish should reach at least 145°F. Don’t take any risks with undercooked meat this summer. Embrace the art of grilling while ensuring your meal is safe and delicious.

Seafood Safety

Summertime in Southern California means an abundance of fresh catches to enjoy, but when it comes to seafood, especially raw fish, it’s important to take extra precautions to avoid getting sick.

Before diving into the shrimp cocktail or communal ceviche, make sure the seafood is fresh and hasn’t been sitting out without refrigeration for too long. Raw fish, just like any other perishable food, can quickly grow bacteria in warm temperatures. If you’re at a group event, we recommend keeping any fish dish in the fridge until people are ready to eat, and refrigerate any leftovers as soon as everyone has made their plate!

Fresh shrimp ceviche

Get ready to make the most of your summer! Relax, have fun, and enjoy some time outdoors, but don’t forget about the importance of food safety. Nobody wants their summer ruined by a foodborne illness, just remember to keep food at the right temperature, cook it carefully, and be mindful of raw fish. With these simple steps, you can savor the flavors of summer while safeguarding your health and well-being. So fire up the grill, pack that picnic, and create memories that will last a lifetime, knowing that you’re taking the necessary precautions.