Summer Food Safety
Picnics, barbecues, and potlucks are wonderful ways to celebrate the summer months.
Whatever your plans, take care to prepare and transport food safely to help prevent
food borne illnesses that are so common during the summer months.
Hot Springs, Ark. – Picnics, barbecues, and potlucks are wonderful ways to celebrate the summer months. Whatever your plans, take care to prepare and transport food safely to help prevent food borne illnesses that are so common during the summer months. Bacteria begin to multiply between 40°F and 140°F, so it is important to keep your food either cold or hot right up to the moment of cooking or serving. The temperature in between is known as the “Danger Zone” because bacteria multiply more rapidly and can reach unsafe levels after just 2 hours – 1 hour if the temperature outside is 90° F or above.
Here are a few tips when transporting food:
- Make sure your cooler will keep foods at 40°F or lower or plan for foods that are less perishable.
- Keep your drinks in a separate cooler since it is opened more often.
- Try to take only what will be eaten so you don’t have to worry about leftovers.
- Don’t partially pre-cook meat or poultry before transporting. If it must be pre-cooked, cook it fully.
- Pack condiments in small containers rather than taking the whole jar.
- Place the cooler inside the car where it is air-conditioned rather than in the trunk.
- When transporting hot foods, wrap the container in aluminum foil and then towels to help keep the temperature above 140°F.
When grilling, the USDA recommends cooking meats fully to ensure harmful bacteria is destroyed. Hamburgers and ribs should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. The center should not be pink and the juices should run clear. Ground poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F and poultry parts, such as legs, thighs and breasts, should be cooked to 180°F.
- Be sure all utensils, plates, and cooking surfaces are clean.
- Wash your hands before handling food and after handling raw meat, poultry or fish.
- Take only as much food out of the cooler or refrigerator as you are going to cook right then.
- When the meat is cooked, transfer it onto a clean plate. Never place cooked meat on the same plate that held the raw meat.
- Do not reuse marinades that have come in contact with raw meat, poultry or fish.
Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC call 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in becoming a Master Gardener and would like more information, you’re welcome to attend their monthly meeting on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 1pm at the Elks Lodge. You may also call the Extension office on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email email@example.com.
We have several 4-H clubs for our Garland county youth who are 5 to 19 years old. For more information on all the fun 4-H activities there are, call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Linda Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer
By Jessica Vincent
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jessica Vincent
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.