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Summertime Food Safety
Provided by the American Dietetic Association: Your Link to Nutrition & Health

With summer fast approaching, there is a need to do more activities outside, including cooking. The incidence of foodborne illness is most prevalent from May to September, so while you're firing up the charcoals or putting gas in the grill, it is important to be aware of some "food safety tips" during the warm weather. Often foodborne illness can occur with symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, exhaustion, diarrhea, dizziness or vomiting. It is often misdiagnosed as the flu.

Did your mother always tell you to wash your hand before dinner? Well I bet she didn't tell you to wash them before, during and after dinner. Bacteria can start to form each time you touch something -- especially food.

1. Wash Hands Often.
Wash hands in warm, soapy water before preparing foods and after handling raw meats, including poultry and seafood.

While preparing foods, whether it is raw meat or cooked meat, be careful of cross-contamination.

2. Keep Raw Meats and Ready-to-Eat Foods Separate.
When the juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects accidentally touch cooked or ready-to-eat foods, cross-contamination occurs. Make sure to use two separate cutting boards; one for raw meat, the other for ready-to-eat foods, like breads and vegetables. Make sure to wash them thoroughly after use in hot soapy water.

During the summer, hamburgers and chicken are two of the most popular grilling foods across America, signaling the perfect time to reinforce safe food-handling practices. Mishandling food is the leading cause of food-related sickness.

3. Cook to Proper Temperatures.
Use a meat thermometer, to help ensure the meat is cooked thoroughly

Now it's time to relax after your cookout, right? Not so fast. Make sure all of the uneaten foods are refrigerated within the hour after your meal.

4. Refrigerate Promptly, Below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This will also help to reduce the growth of bacteria in the food.

According to a recent survey, nearly nine out of 10 Americans believe more education is needed about food safety preparation and handling in their kitchens in order to prevent food-related illness. By making sure you follow the four simple tips listed, you will be helping to reduce foodborne illness for you and your family. Please tell your friends. Have a great summer!


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