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Eat heartily and safely this summer



Did you know that every year, 128,000 Americans are hospitalized for food poisoning … or that we are at higher risk for such diseases as we get older?

Age-related changes in the gastrointestinal tract, chronic underlying diseases (diabetes, cancer, etc.), changes in organ function (liver and kidney) and drug-related side effects lead to increased caution in the food prep in every season. However, food poisoning is more common in the summer months when bacteria multiply more rapidly and many people prepare food outdoors, making it difficult to handle food safely.

The good news? USDA's Clean Food, Separate, Cook and Chill four-stage food safety plan can help prevent foodborne illness this summer.

Cleaning : Clean surfaces, utensils and hands with soap and warm water. Wash hands properly for 20 seconds and concentrate on scrubbing your palms between your fingers and fingertips. If you are not eating at home, you should find out if there is a source of drinking water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning or pack clean, wet disposable washcloths, damp cloths and paper towels to clean hands and surfaces of food, fruits and vegetables. Raw meat juices can contain bacteria that can cross ready-to-eat foods. If you are using a cooler, wrap raw meat and poultry safely and separately so that the juices do not get near any other food in the cooler.

Cooking : Boil food to a safe internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. They can not use paint alone as an indicator of the degree of cooking. Always bring a food thermometer to ensure that meat and poultry are safe.

    • Cook raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts at 1
      45 ° F. For safety and quality reasons, allow the meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming it.
    • Cook raw ground beef, pork, lamb and veal at 160 ° F.
    • Cook raw poultry at 165 ° F.
    • Heat cooked food to 165 ° F

Warning : Cook meat and poultry completely on the barbecue . By partially cooking food in advance, bacteria can survive and multiply so much that subsequent cooking can not destroy them.

Chills : When handling food outdoors during the warmer months, store perishable foods such as lunches, cooked meats, chicken, and potato or pasta salads in an insulated cooler with several inches of ice, ice packs or containers filled with frozen water. Store the cold temperature of the chiller by refilling the ice as it starts to melt, and when you are on the go, leave the chiller in the coolest part of the car. Refrigerate food within two hours after cooking or within one hour after cooking if the temperature in summer is 90 ° F or more.

If you have questions about food safety, you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or go live with a food safety specialist Chat English or Spanish at AskKaren.gov Available from 10 am to 6 pm ET, Monday through Friday. Ask Karen also provides automated food safety information around the clock.

Bio: Adam Ghering is a public affairs specialist, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

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