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Food Safety Tips for Spring and Summer Festivities

A breath of fresh air, fuller trees and fresh blossoms can mean only one thing  – It’s springtime!

A few safety tips will help ensure your spring and summer festivities are enjoyable. Cooking outdoors needs special precautions. Take out raw meat and other cooked items only when needed. Bacteria are always on a lookout for moist temperatures to start growing on foods. Also while cooking out in nature, make sure to keep the food covered at all times.

Why Food Safety Is Important

Cooking food safely not only during spring and summer but throughout the year can bring you some serious health benefits. Some foods that should be cooked at the right temperature are ham, lamb, eggs and beef. Raw meats need certain ideal temperature to be cooked well. Cooking these food items safely needs special attention.

Some useful tips:

HAM: Fresh, uncooked hams, spiral-cut or fully cooked or country ham can be prepared safely between 140 F to 145 F.

Cooking ham at this temperature kills any harmful germs and helps bring out the important nutrients.

LAMB: Regardless of the cut – shanks, shoulders or steaks — lamb must be cooked at a safe temperature of 145 F with three minutes of resting time.

Anyone fond of cooking must have a food thermometer. It makes sure that all disease-causing bacteria are completely destroyed.

EGGS: Any egg dish for immediate consumption should not be kept out at room temperature for more than two hours.

And serve cooked egg dishes immediately.

BEEF: Beef brisket, unlike other beef cuts, requires a longer cooking time.

While cooking in an oven, make sure to cover the meat with about one inch of water in no less than 325 F.

Also make sure to keep the container covered during the entire cooking time.

The next level for food safety tips is hygiene. Separate raw meat from cooked food to avoid spreading foodborne diseases.

Poultry, fish, and meats should be cooked at least at 165 degrees.

Temperatures to cook raw meat:

Food Internal Temperature
Beef (Ground) 160°F
Chicken or Turkey (Ground) 165°F
Beef, Veal & Lamb (Roasts, Chops, Steaks) 160-170°F
Pork 160°F
Chicken and Turkey Breasts 170°F
Chicken or Turkey (legs, thighs & wings) 180°F

While meat, fish, and poultry, make sure to wash them separately in different containers. Wash your hands in between cooking and handling raw food.

With spring comes spring cleaning, the perfect time to give the kitchen a quick safety check. Though the kitchen area must be clean throughout the year, spring is the time to clear out all the winter holiday foods.

Safely dispose off any leftovers that have not been stored properly for more than four days. Wash the kitchen counters and utensils with hot soapy water before and after preparing meals.

Unrefrigerated foods especially during the spring and summer tend to rot sooner. Spoiled food can’t always be detected just by its appearance or taste. Do not risk your health by tasting such foods to check their validity. Don’t think twice before tossing out food with a layer of mold.

Storing raw meat in a plastic bag at the bottom of your refrigerator can prevent the juices from dripping on and spoiling other foods items. Also, regularly clean drawers, shelves, and the inside of a refrigerator with hot soapy water instead of using chemical based disinfectants.

A few guidelines on how to store various food products at different temperatures:

In Refrigerator 40 degrees F (5 degrees C) In Freezer 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C)
Fresh Meat:
Beef: Ground 1-2 days 3-4 months
Steaks and roasts 3-5 days 6-12 months
Pork: Chops 3-5 days 4-6 months
Ground 1-2 days 3-4 months
Roasts 3-5 days 4-6 months
Cured Meats:
Lunch Meat 3-5 days 1-2 months
Sausage 1-2 days 1-2 months
Hot dogs Unopened, 2 weeks

Opened, 1 week

Prepared salads (egg, tuna, etc.) 3-5 days Don’t freeze
Gravy 1-2 days 2-3 months
Soups or stews 3-4 days 2-3 months
Lean (such as cod, flounder, haddock) 1-2 days up to 6 months
Fatty (such as blue, perch, salmon) 1-2 days 2-3 months
Chicken: Whole 1-2 days 12 months
Parts 1-2 days 9 months
Giblets 1-2 days 3-4 months
Dairy products:
Swiss, brick, processed, cheese 3-4 weeks *
Soft cheese 1 week 6 months
Milk 5 days 1 month
Ice cream, ice milk 2-4 months
Butter 1-3 months 6-9 months
Buttermilk 7-14 days 3 months
Cream cheese 2 weeks
Cream 3-5 days 4 months
Sour cream 7-21 days
Yogurt 7-10 days
Eggs: Fresh in the shell 3 weeks
Hard-boiled 1 week
Pasteurized liquid 3 days (opened)

10 days (unopened)

1 year
Mayonnaise 2 months don’t freeze
TV dinners 3-4 months
Store-bought convenience meals 1-2 days
Cooked meat leftovers 3-4 days 2-3 months
Pizza 3-4 days 1-2 months
Stuffing, cooked 3-4 days 1 month
Dough – tube can, cookies use-by date 2 months (don’t freeze tube cans)

Celebrating the spring md summer with friends and family around the barbeque can be so much more relaxing when all safety measures are in order. Enjoy!

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