In the cold supply chain industry, it’s a well-known fact that the biggest threat to the quality and safety of food occurs when the food leaves the store in the hands of the customer. If not properly stored and looked after, food quality can degrade quickly – starting in the car on the way home. These risks increase tenfold during the summer, as the risk of food poisoning increases with warm, moist conditions.
Make sure to keep the temperature inside your cooler below 4 degrees C during the summer. Don’t keep your food at room temperature for longer than an hour.
Store your meats and fish at the bottom of your cooler to keep juices from dripping onto other foods to avoid spreading harmful bacteria.
To help combat this challenging time of the year for food safety, we have compiled a list of summer food safety tips that can help keep you and your loved ones safe from food poisoning as you enjoy activities such as camping, BBQs, and picnics.
Keeping food cool is key
During the summer when the temperature both inside and outside of your house can go from warm to hot in a short period of time, it is important that you take steps to keep perishable food cold. When preparing food on the go, make sure to maintain the temperature inside your cooler below 4 degrees C, and don’t keep your food at room temperature for longer than an hour. Maintaining optimal temperature is easily achieved with coolers filled with ice or ice packs, which are essential to keeping your food cold on the go. Remember, harmful bacteria tend to grow in as little as two hours in the temperature danger zone of 4 degrees C to 60 degrees C.
Just like in our VersaCold temperature-controlled trucks, it’s important that you take steps to avoid unwanted heat from entering the cooler whenever possible. Opening the door to your cooler allows for cold air to seep out and warm air to enter – both things you don’t want to happen. You should avoid opening your cooler too often and do your best to keep it out of direct sunlight.
Try keeping drinks and food in separate coolers, as this will stop the food cooler from being opened too often and will keep things cold for a longer period.
Separate your meat and other foods
When it comes to your raw meat, poultry, and seafood, it’s always a good idea to keep them separate from other food to avoid spreading harmful bacteria. Store your meats and fish at the bottom of the cooler to keep juices from dripping onto other foods. When possible, make sure to use containers or plastic re-sealable bags that are capable of preventing leaks. Cross contamination is a big concern during the summer months, and these are some easy steps you can take to stop it from happening.
Wash your hands and dishes properly
Be sure to follow the same washing instructions outdoors as you do at your home when you’re using plates, cookware and cutlery. While this may seem a little obvious to most people, the fact remains there is a misconception that the rules go out the window on those hot summer days when we are cooking outside.
There are two necessary cleaning techniques that you should follow when preparing meals to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and food poisoning:
- Always use soap and clean, fresh water to wash thoroughly all the utensils, countertops and anything that was used during the meal preparation and consumption.
- Make sure you properly sanitize cooking equipment and work surfaces with a mild bleach solution.
Keep these tips in mind so you and your family can have a fun and healthy summer. If you have any advice, please feel free to share it with us.
Safety is the responsibility of everyone and through careful planning and personal responsibility, we can all build a safer workplace for everyone to operate within. Contact one of our Sales Specialists today and let us show you why we are the right choice for your business. [email protected] or 1-800-563-COLD