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While
summertime picnics and barbecues are fun, it’s important to follow certain
storage, sanitation and cooking tips to avoid getting sick.
Bacteria can
grow on food that isn’t kept at the correct temperature or that was prepared on
unclean surfaces or by people who are ill. The number one cause of foodborne
illness is germs from dirty hands.
To stay healthy while preparing or enjoying summer
food, follow these guidelines:

  • Always wash your hands before food preparation and sanitize surfaces
    and utensils.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before preparing.
  • Never leave perishable food out of the refrigerator for more than
    two hours.
  • While shopping, select meats last to keep them cold and bag them
    separately in plastic. Store raw meats and eggs below other foods in your
    refrigerator.
  • Cook foods to the proper temperature to kill parasites, bacteria and
    viruses. Use a food thermometer to ensure that fish, shellfish, pork and
    lamb are cooked to 145°F, hamburger and sausage are cooked to 155°F, and
    poultry, stuffed meats and casseroles are cooked to 165°F.
  • Keep hot food hot (above 135°F) and cold food cold (below 41°F).
Foods are safest within the first two hours after they are cooked.