Keep food safe during hot summer days

With these high Michigan temperatures, take extra precaution to keep your food at a safe temperature.

It certainly has been a hot and humid stretch of weather for Michigan this summer. As you continue to enjoy all the great activities our state has to offer during summer time, remember to keep your food safety habits up to speed with these extreme high temperatures. Warmer temperatures provide the perfect environment for bacteria to rapidly multiply if perishable food is not properly handled. This bacterial growth can lead to foodborne illness. 

Michigan State University Extension recommends always using these four principles for safe food handling—Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill. Each principle has important tips to keep in mind to help ensure food is safe to eat. During summer temperatures, pay extra attention to the Chill principle so your fun summer food events can be safe, even when the temperatures soar past 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chill—Keep cold foods cold

Summer’s warmer temperatures can make it difficult to keep cold foods cold. Take special caution to:

  • Ensure that food is refrigerated quickly in a refrigerator with the temperature below 40 degrees F.
  • Have refrigerator thermometers in all your coolers, your camper refrigerators and all refrigerators in your home.
  • Use coolers or ice chests filled with ice when traveling or taking food away from home for food events, or the grocery store. 
  • Keep the coolers closed as much as possible and out of direct sunlight. 
  • Pack beverages in a separate cooler from the food since the beverage cooler is usually opened more frequently and the temperature can be higher than 40 degrees F.
  • Remember, if the temperature is above 90 degrees F then food can only safely be out of refrigerator temperatures for one hour. When the temperatures soar, the 2-hour rule becomes a one-hour rule due to greater chance of bacteria contaminating food.

Enjoy the fun and sun but follow the simple steps above to keep your favorite summer foods safe.

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