Food Safety During the Summer


As the temperature rises we know it is definitely summer time! It is no surprise that we see an increase in foodborne illnesses from June - September.  One of the best tools to help prevent illness is a food thermometer and refrigerator/freezer thermometer.  Both food and refrigerator thermometers are relatively low cost ($10 or less), and can be found at your local grocery/hardware store.

A food thermometer monitors the temperature of food to ensure it is “done” and cooked to the proper temperature.  This makes it safe to eat.
Pros
  • Prevent food from being undercooked and thus prevent foodborne illness
  • Avoid food from being overcooked, which negatively changes the flavor and texture of food
  • Allows cooks to hold food at a safe temperature
  • Easy to use

Cons
  • Needs to be calibrated, some more often than others
  • Not always oven proof
  • Time to read the correct temperature can vary

A refrigerator thermometer is a smart investment to prevent food waste.  When the refrigerator is 41°F or less, food in the refrigerator is less likely to spoil.  When the refrigerator is 41°F or less, most bacteria that cause foodborne illness do not survive well at these cold temperatures, keeping our milk, eggs, and produce safe to eat.  When temperatures do not stay below 41°F, some simple changes are needed:
  • There is too much food to properly cool down to 41°F or less
  • The refrigerator and/or freezer needs to be fixed

A freezer thermometer can also prevent food waste.  When the freezer is at 0°F or less, food in the freezer is less likely to defrost and spoil, similar to the refrigerator temperatures.   
Pros
  • When a power outage occurs, check the refrigerator and freezer thermometer to see if the temperature is above 41°F . Throw out any food that has been above 41°F for more than 2 hours as it could be unsafe to eat.
  • Thermometers make chilling and cooking foods easy

Cons
  • Thermometer may be hard to see in the refrigerator/freezer
  • Thermometer temperatures may not get checked daily

To find out more information about summer food safety, check our past blogs on these topics.
Past Blogs on Summer Food Safety






PRINT RECIPE

No comments

Post a Comment

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. The University of Maryland Extension will not discriminate against any person because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more about Maryland’s Food Supplement Program (SNAP), contact the Maryland Department of Human Resources at 1-800-332-6347 or apply online at https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/.
© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall