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Houston Department of Health and Human Services > Food Inspection and Safety (Consumer Health) > Food Safety Tips > Seven Super Steps for Safe Food in the Summertime

"Seven Super Steps for Safe Food In The Summertime"

During the summer months, it is especially important to take extra precautions and practice safe food handling when preparing perishable foods such as meat, poultry, seafood and egg products. The warmer weather conditions may be ideal for outdoor picnics and barbecues but they also provide a perfect environment for bacteria and other pathogens in food to multiply rapidly and cause foodborne illness. Follow the suggestions below to Fight BAC!™ (foodborne bacteria) and reduce the risk of foodborne illness this summer.

    1.   Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands (as in Row, Row, Row Your Boat)  Always, wash your hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling food. 
    1.    Marinating Mandate
      When marinating for long periods of time, it is important to keep foods refrigerated. Don't use sauce that was used to marinate raw meat or poultry on cooked food. Boil used marinade before applying to cooked food.
    1.    Hot, Hot, Hot
      When grilling foods, preheat the coals on your grill for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the coals are lightly coated with ash.
    1.    Temperature Gauge
      Use a meat thermometer to insure that food reaches a safe internal temperature. 
    1.    Where's the Beef? Chicken and Fish?
      Hamburgers should be cooked to 160º F, while large cuts of beef such as roasts and steaks may be cooked to 145º F for medium rare or to 160º F for medium. Cook ground poultry to 165° F and poultry parts to 170° F. Fish should be opaque and flake easily. 
    1.    Stay Away from that Same Old Plate
      When taking foods off the grill, do not put cooked food items back on the same plate that previously held raw food.
    1.    Icebox Etiquette
      A full cooler will maintain its cold temperatures longer than one that is partially filled so it is important to pack plenty of extra ice or freezer packs to insure a constant cold temperature. 

(from an article published by Food Safety Education’s Fight BAC!™ campaign)  

For this and other food safety related information, please contact the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Consumer Health Services at 713-794-9200.

Contact the HDHHS Bureau of Consumer Health Services