Summer Food Safety

Keep It Cool, Keep It Safe
by NatureBox Nutritionist Kat Brown, MS RD RYT

imageWhether you’re barbecuing at home, chowing down on food from vendors at the boardwalk or ballpark, or out camping, paying attention to food safety can ensure that everyone has a good time- because there’s nothing worse than foodborne illness to ruin a party. Time to review some food safety wisdom.

Basics of Food Safety
Here’s your number one food safety mantra- keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.  Food sitting out at room temperature for more than 2 hours is just not safe. And if it’s hot out (90° F or warmer) that window is reduced to 1 hour. When you’re grocery shopping, pick up raw meat last and if you have other errands to run with them in the car, pack a cooler with ice packs to keep the meat below 40° F.

Your number two food safety mantra- keep it separate- meats and produce in particular. While grocery shopping, bag meats to keep them contained. If you use reusable groceries bags (good for you!), try and have dedicated bags for transporting meat that you do not use for produce. You should also use different cutting boards for meats and produce to decrease the risk of cross contamination during food prep.

Grill It Up Right
Marinating meats is a great way to give it awesome flavor- but none of that countertop marinating during the summer! Thaw and marinate meat in the fridge. Once your delicious dish is cooked, use a clean platter to slice/serve it.  If you’re barbecuing at a campsite or park, pack a cooler for perishable foods and keep it closed and out of the sun so it maintains its temperature. If you can, store cold drinks and food in separate coolers so the food cooler isn’t opened repeatedly, causing it to get warm.

Vendor Trend
Food from vendor stands can be a great way to sample local flavor when you’re out and about, but are you ever concerned about the safety of eating at food stands and trucks? Take a quick look before you’re seduced by the kebabs (or tacos or fried dough)- is there a source of clean water for hand washing, does the preparation area look clean, and is there a place to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot? In that case, go for it!

Now get out there and enjoy all of those fun summer foods! For more information on food safety, check out the US Government’s thorough and user-friendly website.

Hoping that you have a fun, relaxing summer from all of us at the NatureBox team.

Get more healthy ideas and delicious snacks by joining NatureBox. Enter coupon code NATURE for 25% off your first month subscription!

Kat Brown MS RD RYT is a San Francisco Bay Area based Registered Dietitian and Yoga Teacher. As a nutrition counselor, writer, cook, and yogini she seeks to inspire others to nourish themselves and live balanced, fulfilled lives.