Amy Simonne, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Food Safety and Quality
Research showed that foodborne illness or “food poisoning” is more prevalent in warmer weather, and Florida is quite warm in summer. Many bacteria or microorganisms in foods and environment can grow very fast at temperatures from 90 to 110ºF. These temperatures are typical summer temperature in Florida. Here are some simple food safety tips for summer.
- Wash your hands with clean potable water and soap often, especially before eating or preparing foods. (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FY725)
- If there is no clean water to wash your hands, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.
- Keep the hand sanitizers away from small children and follow directions carefully.
- When temperature is above 90ºF, perishable foods should not be left out for more than 1 hour.
- Safe shelf-life of perishable food is a combination of time and temperature. Discard your perishable foods if it has been on a picnic table for a long time! If in doubts, throw it out!
- Ice is a food! Handle ice as you would handle foods. Ice that is used for cooling drinks and other foods should not be use in your drink! Consider putting other perishable food in a separate cooler. Keep ice for drinking separate from ice for cooling food.
- If your family enjoys eating home made ice cream in summer, follow safe handling of eggs.
- Follow safe handling of fresh fruits and vegetable to reduce the risk of foodborne illness!
- At family picnics, teach your children and family member the important of good personal hygiene and serving etiquette to prevent some potential cross-contamination of germs from your hands to others!