In the summer heat, the likelihood of your food to cause food-borne illnesses rises which is why it’s important to build food safety habits early on. Having meals outside is a common occurrence while camping, hiking, and enjoying other activities, so prepare meals appropriately for the occasion. Remember, the heat creates a perfect environment for bacteria to grow and multiply so following these tips on keeping your food safe are vital. 

Food Separation

  • Don’t cross-contaminate — keep uncooked meats away from other food
  • Place raw meats and eggs below food that is already prepared in case of leakage
  • When shopping, keep eggs and raw meat separate from other foods 

Temperature

Keeping food at a certain temperature eliminates the possibility that food will spoil. 

  • Keep hot food above 140 degrees F
  • Keep cold food below 40 degrees F
  • Cook poultry and fish to an internal temperature between 145 degrees F and 160 degrees F
    • Get a digital meat thermometer
  • Pack meals with frozen gel packs or ice packs to keep perishables fresh

Storage

Follow the proper storage timelines so that food isn’t eaten after it’s ‘best by’ date.  

  • Cook or freeze meats within two to three days of purchase
  • Use high-acid canned goods within 12 to 18 months
  • Use low-acid canned goods within two to five years
  • Store items after opening them in the refrigerator if perishable

Clean

Stopping the spread of bacteria is essential. Starting off cooking and preparing food with clean hands and clean surfaces will protect you from harmful bacteria. 

  • Wash hands using soap and warm water for 20 seconds
    • If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer
  • Make sure all surfaces and appliances are clean before cooking or cutting
  • Wash produce with water that’s cold or lukewarm 

Put it to use

Practicing food safety can build good habits that will keep you and your Scouts both healthy and happy during any outing. You can check out this BSA Safety Moment: Keeping Your Food Safe for more information.

Do you have any other food safety tips? If so, share them below!

 

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studies Communication and Environmental Science at Westminster College. She is currently a marketing intern at the Utah National Parks Council. She loves to travel and get outside as often as she can. Growing up overseas on military bases she fulfilled her desires to travel to many different countries. After high school, she returned stateside to pursue her passion for the environment and acquire her Bachelor's degree.

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