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Food Safety and Warm Weather

Warm weather increases the chance of food poisoning

It's the season for picnics, cookouts and other outdoor parties


Eating outdoors in warm weather presents a food safety challenge. The risk of foodborne illness increases during the summer months because disease-causing bacteria grow faster on raw meat and poultry products in warmer weather. Bacteria grow best between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Follow these four simple steps to food safety

  1. Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often.
  2. Separate - Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked foods and foods that will be served without cooking, like salads.
  3. Cook - Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are safely cooked.
  4. Chill - Keep cold foods cold.

Remember: Food poisoning is common. It has been estimated that 54 million Americans get it every year.

Information from CDC Food safety tips

The top five germs that cause food-borne illnesses:

How long can food stay out?

Most of the food you serve at your picnic will only be safe on the table for two hours.

If the air temperature is over 90 degrees, food becomes unsafe after only one hour. Once leftovers have been on the table that long, don't keep them – throw them away.