Tips to keep foods safe in hot weather

Published 10:56 am Monday, July 3, 2023

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As the warm weather arrives, more people are heading outdoors and enjoying outdoor activities. One of those activities is eating. However, this increase in outdoor eating can lead to a higher risk of foodborne illnesses if food safety is not taken seriously, said Davie Health Director Suzanne Wright. In fact, it is estimated that each year, one in six people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne illnesses.
 Factors such as time, temperature, and moisture play a major role in the growth of harmful bacteria that can lead to sickness. Hot summer temperatures and humidity provide the perfect environment for bacterial growth if food safety precautions are not followed. To prevent foodborne illnesses, there are several safety measures you can put in place and follow.  Some of these include:
–Perishable food should not be left out for more than two hours*.
–In hot weather above 90 degrees (Fahrenheit), food should not be left out for more than one hour*.
*This includes raw meat, poultry, seafood, cut up fresh fruits and vegetables, deli meats and sandwiches, summer salads, and perishable dairy products.
–When cooking outdoors, thaw out meats before grilling.
–Keep hands and surfaces clean to avoid cross contamination.
–Separate raw and cooked meats and ready-to-eat foods.
–Use a food thermometer to ensure meats are cooked to a safe temperature.
(Beef, pork, lamb and veal must reach a temperature of 145 with a three minute resting time; Ground meats – 160; Whole, breast or ground poultry – 165)
–Keep chilled foods in an insulated cooler filled with ice or ice packs.
Remember, food safety is important during all seasons, but even more so during the summer months.
This information is provided by Davie County Health & Human Services WIC Program. The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program is a nutrition program that helps families stay healthy and serves those who are pregnant, have recently had a baby, are breastfeeding, or have a child under age 5. The WIC program provides benefits to buy healthy food, nutrition advice, breastfeeding support, and referrals for health services. There is no charge for WIC services.
To see if you qualify, to apply for WIC, or to learn more, call 336.753.6758. You can also visit the WIC office at 154 Government Center Drive, Mocksville.