Can you pass the summer food safety quiz?

By CPT Susan Stankorb
Registered Dietitian, Department of Nutritional Medicine, BAMC

1. Food borne illness is more common in summer months than winter months.
a. True
b. False

2. The safest way to thaw meat for grilling is
a. Putting it in the refrigerator
b. Running cold water over it in the sink
c. Leaving it on the counter as long as you are planning to cook it immediately once it is thawed

3. Which of the following is NOT TRUE when it comes to marinating meat for the grill?
a. Marinades can be saved and used again as long as you will be marinating the same type of meat.
b. You should never marinate in a metal bowl.
c. Marinating can be done at room temperature as long as you plan to cook the meat right away.
d. You should reserve some of the marinate for use in basting prior to putting raw food in it to avoid cross contamination.

4. In hot weather he maximum time cold foods should be allowed to sit out of the refrigerator is:
a. 30 minutes
b. 1 hour
c. 2 hours|
d. No more than 3 hours

5. Which is the safest practice for serving potato salad at an outdoor BBQ?
a. Placing potato salad in a large bowl over ice.
b. Placing potato salad in a small bowl without ice and replacing it with new bowl when needed or at least every hour.
c. It is not safe to serve potato salad.

Summer is a great time to gather with family and friends but without careful attention to food safety, your backyard BBQ could result in illness. Did you know that food borne illness peaks in the summer? The reasons are simple. Warmer temperatures and humidity provide the optimum environment for food borne bacteria to flourish.

Also, when we cook and serve food outside we do not always have access to the same sanitary measures. Frequent hand washing, refrigeration and reliable temperature control ensures food to meet the proper cooking temperature to reduce risk. 

To reduce the risk of you, your family or friends becoming ill follow these simple tips.

* Always start clean by washing your hands, fruits, vegetables, and utensils.
* Avoid cross contamination (transferring bacteria from one thing to another)

— Wash hands frequently and always after working with raw meats.
— Use separate utensils to include cutting boards, for items that are raw and those that are cooked.
— When packing for a BBQ use separate coolers for raw and prepared foods.

* Marinate safely

— Do not marinate in a metal bowl. Metal may react with acids in marinade.
— Always marinate in the refrigerator.
— Wait to baste marinade prior to placing meat in the refrigerator.
— Discard left over marinade after use.

* Cook meat to the right temperature and test it with a food thermometer

— Steak 145° F
— Hamburgers 160° F (you will not be able to tell by color alone)
— Chicken 165° F
— Fish 145° F
— Pork 160° F

— Do not try to partially cook foods ahead of time

* Refrigerate

— Ensure cold foods stay at proper temperature prior to serving (?40°F).
— Ensure your coolers have plenty of ice to keep foods cool.
— In hot weather, do not let foods sit out more than 1 hour prior to refrigerating.
— Serve cold foods in smaller bowls and replenish them often.

Now that you know everything to enjoy your summer safely, go out and have some fun!

Answers to quiz: 1. a 2. a 3. a 4. b 5. b