Although this was a statement about our great country and the celebration of its independence, one could also take this as a spin on the freedom we have to choose the foods we eat, and the freedom to stay far from food borne illness. As the Fourth of July approaches quickly, and as we head further into our summer, it is important to take a closer look into food safety when heat comes into play.
The harsh reality of the situation is presented in the following facts:
- Incidents of food poisoning skyrocket over the summer months.
- Bacteria multiply faster when it is warm.
- Most people don’t know that roughly 48,000,000 Americans will get sick from food borne illness this year
- Tragically, 128,000 will be hospitalized and 3,000 of these will die from food borne illness.
Luckily there are a few easy precautions and fixes to make sure you and your family have a safe summer and holiday season.
When it comes to grilling meats there are a few key temperatures to remember:
- 165 F° for poultry
- 160 F° for pork, ground beef and ground meats
- 145 F° for steaks, roasts or chops
When we think of summer a lot of cooler items come to mind such as potato salad, fruit salad and macaroni salad. It is also important to keep in mind these foods are meant to be cold and therefore need to stay cold. The temperature at which bacteria can reproduces quickly, also referred to as the “danger zone,” is between 40-140 F°. The easy way to keep items cool outside is to put them in coolers. Here are a few easy tips to use the cooler to its full potential:
- Freeze water bottles and place them throughout the cooler.
- Have separate coolers for drinks and for food, so that the cooler containing the food can be closed for the majority of the time.
- Place your cooler inside an air conditioned car when traveling rather than in a trunk.
On this Independence Day, honor the legacy of our forefathers and the gift of the freedom they fought so hard to win. Make it your dual goal to be free from food borne illnesses and free to enjoy a fun, healthy time in the sun!
This post was written by Bianca Canestraro, who is currently a junior at The University of Toledo, studying Marketing and Electronic Commerce. Bianca is currently interning in the Agribusiness Division at Westfield Insurance.