Unfortunately, the beginning of August means the last month of summer vacation is here. Don’t get upset yet, there are still plenty of reasons to celebrate! A new school year is right around the corner, football season is starting, and why not put together an “end of the summer” party to commemorate all the good times you’ve had this past summer.Image

With August and September having some of the hottest weather, don’t get lazy about preventing foodborne illnesses. Rising temperatures can cause bacteria to multiply rapidly. Here are some tips to help prevent your party guests from harmful illnesses:

Packing and Transporting Food

  • Coolers- Keep your refrigerated foods in a cooler. In order to prevent bacterial growth, the cooler temperature needs to stay at 40° F or below. Use ice or frozen gel packages to keep the cooler at a constant temperature.
  • Clean fruits and vegetables- Rinse and dry your produce before placing them in the cooler.
  • Organize- Use multiple coolers to separate food and drinks. The cooler holding drinks will be opened and closed continuously, altering the temperature. Don’t open the food cooler until ready to cook. Wrap meats separately so it doesn’t contaminate other food.

Safe Grilling

  • Marinating- Marinate meats in the refrigerator and don’t reuse marinate that was on uncooked food.
  • Food thermometers- Check the temperature on all of your cooked food to make sure they’ve reached proper cooking temps.
  • Keep food hot- Once cooked to proper temperature, move your food to the side of the grill away from the coals to keep it hot.
  • Utensils and platters- Make sure there are enough so you aren’t using the same utensils and platters on your uncooked and cooked foods

Appropriate Hot/Cold Temps

  • Cold food- Cold food should be kept at 40° F or below and should not be kept for longer than 2 hours (no longer than 1 hour if the outside temp is 90° or above)
  • Hot food- Hot foods should be kept at 140° or above and should not be kept for longer than 2 hours (no longer than 1 hour if the outside temp is 90° or above)
  • Temperatures to remember- Make sure you know the temperature each food should be cooked at to ensure it’s cooked properly.
    • 145°F – Steaks and roasts, fish
    • 160°F – Pork, ground beef, egg dishes
    • 165°F-  Chicken breasts, whole poultry

By following these tips you can reduce the chance of your party guests getting a foodborne illness, and you’re able to enjoy the rest of your summer sick-free.

Stop at your local Sparkle Market to find all of your food supplies for an “end of the summer” party!