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101 days of public health summertime food safety

By Tech Sgt. Albertina Walker 2nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron


As summertime food, fun and weather fast approaches, the cookouts and picnics will follow. The 2nd Medical Group Public Health Flight wants to remind everyone to be attentive to food safety as you enjoy the sun and fun.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year foodborne illnesses impacts one out of every six people due to improper handling and storage of cooked foods in extreme outdoor temperatures. To protect the 2nd Bomb Wing populace from foodborne illnesses, the public health flight recommends the following preventive measures for a safe and healthy summer:

-Keep it Clean. Remember to wash hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap prior to and after handling any raw meat items. Keep food prep areas clean with hot soapy water or chlorine bleach solution to prevent cross-contamination. To sanitize outdoor preparation and cooking surface areas, fill a spray bottle with water and one tablespoon of chlorine bleach.

-Frozen foods should be thawed in the refrigerator and not on countertops. All marinated meats and meat products should remain refrigerated until ready to cook. Never reuse marinade or serve with other cooked foods.

-To ensure foods are cooked thoroughly use a thermometer to check the internal temperature:

    -Fresh beef, pork, veal, and lamb (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145°F

    -Fresh fish: 145°F

    -Ground beef, pork, veal, and lamb (burgers and sausages): 160°F

    -All poultry and pre-cooked meats (such as hot dogs): 165°F

-To stop the growth of bacteria, keep foods chilled for one to two hours if the temperature is greater than 90°F.

-Chilled food items must be kept at 40°F or less either in a cooler or directly on ice.

Summertime means relaxation and fun times spent with family and friends. Just remember when preparing foods during the summer to always follow safe food practices to prevent foodborne illnesses. For additional information, contact public health at 456-6599.