Don’t Let the Memorial Day Cookout Spoil the Fun: Seven Tips for a Food Safe Summer

Charlotte, North Carolina


Charlotte, NC, May 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off to summer, which brings an increase in outdoor grilling, dining al fresco and dodging pesky storms and summertime pests. While some things are out of your control, food safety during those cookouts is key to prevent foodborne illnesses, aka food poisoning, from ruining the fun.  

Chris Boyles, VP of Food Safety for Steritech, provided his top seven tips to keep food safety a top priority while effectively navigating through these seasonal changes. 

  1. Prevent cross-contamination. It is imperative to keep prep areas and cooking utensils for raw meats such as chicken, burgers and other common summer grilling foods separate from those used with ready-to-eat foods. Thoroughly rinse all produce under running water to remove potential contaminants, even pre-washed produce should be rinsed. 
  2. Keep it clean. Prepping food for large groups of people can get distracting. Always remember to wash counters, cutting boards, utensils and hands with hot, soapy water between tasks. Wipe surfaces with single-use towels rather than a cloth towel to avoid spreading germs. Provide hand sanitizer and remind guests to wash or sanitize their hands before eating.
  3. Be allergy aware. Food allergies can be life-threatening. The nine most common food allergens are: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame. Alert guests of any allergens in the food being served. Trace amounts of allergens can cause a reaction so be alert, and do not mix utensils when prepping food. 
  4. Ensure proper cooking and grilling temperatures. Insert a meat thermometer into the densest part of the meat to determine if it’s fully cooked. Cooks should never guess or use color to determine if meats are fully cooked. Proper cooking temperatures for popular summer foods are below: 
    • Poultry - 165°F
    • Tenderized / Ground beef - 155°F
    • Whole cuts of beef / Pork / Lamb / Fish - 145°F
    • Fully cooked hot dogs, sausages or brats - 135°F
  5. Maintain food safe temperatures. The safest way to thaw frozen meat is in a refrigerator. A general rule is a 24hr thaw time for every five pounds of meat. Cool hot foods to at least 70°F within two hours; then to 41°F or below within a total of six hours from the initial start of cooling. Shallow containers can be used to cool foods faster, but do not tightly cover foods until they have fully cooled. 
  6. Pest control: Mosquitos, flies, ants, rodents and many other pests are attracted to food, especially rotten food. Use the “first in, first out” rotation for all produce to prevent foods from going bad. Keep outdoor eating and prep areas free of food scraps and spills. Be aware of the surroundings for outdoor dining areas, excess debris can serve as the perfect harborage for pests.
  7. Have a plan. Warmer weather brings an increased risk of severe storms such as thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes, and with these storms comes flooding and power outages. Keep an eye on the weather and for outdoor picnics or large gatherings secure a secondary indoor location for safe sheltering.  Be proactive and have an emergency plan on hand in case of severe weather. 

For more information on Steritech, please visit Steritech.com.


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ABOUT STERITECH

For nearly 30 years, Steritech has been an industry leader and pioneer in providing assessment and consulting solutions to companies to achieve consistent brand experiences that drive growth, promote loyalty, and reduce risk across all their locations.

With roots in the foodservice industry, Steritech has significant expertise in providing food safety and operational assessments to the restaurant, grocery and supermarket, convenience store, hotel and lodging and retail store industries. Steritech expanded its capabilities in the assessment arena to support a variety of industries in evaluating their operations at locations across North America.

Steritech employs more than 350 full-time Specialists across the United States and Canada. These experts are trained to understand and assess a brand’s specific standards – from safety protocols to customer experience standards – to provide a snapshot overview of how locations are performing against the requirements. Steritech is part of Rentokil North America, a leading business services company, operating across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. 

For more information on Steritech, please visit www.steritech.com, call 800.868.0089 and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter

 

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