Food Safe on Memorial Day

By: Katie Burns  Date: 5/28/10

Memorial Day is this weekend, and with it comes the unofficial start of summer.  Cookouts and picnics and bar-b-ques, OH MY!  With all the fun that the summer months bring, it's important to be food safe to avoid letting foodborne illness get the better of you.  There are simple things that you can do to keep you family safe this summer. 

At the Store

When you're at the store getting the food for the cookout or picnic, remember that cross contamination can happen in the cart and time the cart and in the car adds up for foods that need to be refrigerated. 

·         Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood secured in plastic bags;

·         Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from ready-to-eat foods in your cart;

·         Pick up meat, poultry, seafood and other refrigerated food products last, right before you hit the checkout line;

·         Consider bringing a cooler to store your food if you will not be able to go straight home after the grocery store.

Prep Time

·         To avoid cross-contamination, use separate utensils, cutting boards and dishes for raw meat or poultry and ready-to-eat items like salads or cooked foods;

·         Wash your hands thoroughly before you start preparing the food, and wash them while preparing food if you've touched raw meat or poultry;

·         Wash surfaces, cutting boards and utensils that have come in contact with raw meat or poultry or their juices.

Cook It

Many people think they will know when food is cooked because of the color; however, color does not indicate a safe internal temperature.

·         Use a food thermometer to be sure food is cooked to a safe internal temperature before consuming;

·         Do not reuse the marinade from meats unless you have boiled it since its contact with the raw meat.

Clean up

After you have enjoyed your summer meal, store leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate within two hours (one hour if the temperature is above 90F).  This chart will help you determine how long you can hold on to those leftovers before they should be thrown out.


I hope these tips have helped you see quick and easy ways to be food safe this Memorial Day Weekend and throughout the summer!