When you think of summer, you may also think of outdoor picnics or barbecues with family and friends on warm weekends. Growing up, you never really think of the harmful effects that can come with food safety. This summer, make food safety your priority when it comes to all of these gatherings. Keep your friends and family safe and healthy from any foodborne illnesses.

AFC Urgent Care Hillsdale wants to help make your health your first priority. Visit or call our center today to learn more about the health resources we provide. Use these tips to have a safe and fun summer.

Keep Food Refrigerated

You are more likely to get a foodborne illness in the summer due to the temperature. Colder environments, such as the refrigerator, slow down the growth of bacteria. When food is left out for too long, harmful bacteria grow at a faster rate. 

Keep your food safe from bacteria by:

  • Keeping meat, seafood, and poultry refrigerated (or under 40 degrees) until ready to cook
  • Store all leftovers in the fridge within two hours of cooking, or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees
  • Dispose of any remaining food that has not been refrigerated. Do not eat it.

Cook Meat Properly

In order to get rid of any harmful bacteria that may have grown on your food already, it’s important to cook all meat to its proper internal temperature. Using a meat thermometer can help to determine if the meat is cooked to the right temperature. Never stop cooking meat to finish cooking later. 

Rinse Produce

Wash all fruits, vegetables, and most ready-to-eat foods before consuming. If you are eating somewhere outside, be sure to wash these foods before leaving. Additionally, be sure to wash your hands before, during, and after cooking. Not washing your hands can contribute to the spread of germs.

Do not use the same utensils or cutting boards on raw food and ready-to-eat foods. Be sure to wash them in between or use separate tools. Be sure to clean off the grill before and after use and be on the lookout for bristles from the grill brush.

Keep Raw Food Separated 

Try to avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw food and ready-to-eat food completely separate. This includes using different utensils or cleaning them off before using on different food. Throw away any marinade or sauce that has touched raw meat. Put all cooked food on clean plates.