Here are some helpful reminders to keep your food safe in these hot temperatures.
1. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Bacteria survives and grows at temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees F, so keeping these foods out of the danger zone greatly reduces the potential of becoming ill.
2. Purchase a food thermometer. These are readily available at a reasonable cost in the kitchen gadget section of your favorite store. This will give you an easy way to check temperatures for both hot and cold foods. Some guidelines to follow for internal cooking temperatures:
- Poultry 165 degrees F
- Ground Beef 160 degrees F
- Fish and Steaks 145 degrees F
3. Keep cutting boards and kitchen cloths clean. Always wash cutting boards after using them for raw products. It is best to use another cutting board for cooked foods and produce as well. The same rule applies to kitchen wiping cloths.
4. Wash produce throughly. You will be amazed at what is on the surface of fresh fruits, mushrooms, and salad greens.
5. Use clean platters between raw and cooked foods. If you are taking food outside to be grilled, use one platter for each raw item (poultry, steak or fish) and use another clean platter to put the cooked foods on from the grill. This helps to avoid cross contamination.
With these tips in mind; I wish you healthy summer when it comes to food safety! What other safety tips do you follow when cooking in the summer?
Helen Merkle is a chef at Westfield Group’s Blair Center and is responsible for kitchen and back of house operations at that facility. With 42 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Helen has built her expertise in cooking and management for restaurants, hotels and catering operations. She earned her bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition from North Dakota State University. Prior to joining Westfield, Helen worked for Stouffer Restaurants and Hotels, and Marriott and Holiday Inn Hotels.