Summer time offers individuals opportunities for individuals to socialize with friends and family. With these events, potlucks are often scheduled and offer participants a variety of dining choices. Potlucks can also make other sick, unless you follow some food safety guidelines that will halp keep you and your loved ones from becoming ill.
- Handle food safely
- Always wash hands before and after handling food.
- Keep the kitchen, dishes and utensils clean.
- Always serve food on clean plates. This also includes storage bins and coolers for transporting the food.
- Trust your nose before preparing. Do any of the ingredients smell a little “off?” If so, avoid using.
- Covering the food prior to serving will also keep the flies and other pests out of it. Target, ACE Hardware, Lowes, Walmart, etc. all carry mesh covers for food.
- Be aware of how your food is being handled. Bring you own clean utensils to avoid cross contamination.
- When prepping the food, don’t mix your sources. Raw vegetables should never mix with raw meat in the preparation stages. This also can lead to cross contamination.
Heating to the proper temperature kills the bacteria, parasites and viruses that may be on meat and fish. Using a meat thermometer, be sure that: whole poultry reaches 180 degrees; chicken breasts 170 degrees; ground turkey and poultry 165 degrees; ground beef hamburgers 160 degrees; all cuts of pork 160 degrees; beef, veal, lamb steaks, roasts and chops 160 degrees; all other meat and fish 160 degrees.
Keep it hot or cold
- Divide cooked foods among shallow containers to store in the refrigerator or freezer until serving. This encourages rapid, even cooling. Reheat hot foods to 165 degrees.
- Hot foods should be held at 140 degrees or warmer. Use a chafing dish, slow cooker or warming trays.
- Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees or colder by nesting dishes in bowls of ice. Otherwise, use small serving trays and replace them, as needed, with cold foods.
Mind the time
- Food should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours
- Replace empty plates rather than reuse them for a fresh serving.
I hope these suggestions help. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!