Summer sun and outdoor food safety
Summer will be here soon and with it comes the opportunity to enjoy days at the beach, outdoor patio BBQs and parties!
You don't want to miss any of the outdoor fun by becoming sick from eating food that has gone bad or from getting too much sun. It's no fun being stuck inside when the action is happening outside! There could also be long-term ailments like skin damage and cancer.
Here are a few outdoor safety tips to help you have fun this summer.
- Clean your hands and food preparation surfaces frequently - especially before handling food and cutting raw meat, poultry or fish.
- Separate raw food from cooked foods. Avoid cross-contamination by storing them in separate containers. Clean surfaces when switching from raw to cooked food.
- Cook food until it reaches the correct temperature to kill all harmful bacteria and eat it when it is hot. Always have a digital thermometer on hand to make sure the following safe temperatures have been reached:
- 71 C (160 F) for ground beef*
- 74 C (165 F) for leftover food *
• 85 C (185 F) for whole poultry*
- Cool it by keeping cold foods cold. Do not let food sit at unsafe temperatures that could allow them to spoil.
Cooler packing tips include:
- 4 C (40 F) or below is the correct temperature for foods you normally keep in the fridge (sliced meats, chicken, cooked meat, chicken/potato salads etc.) Use ice or freezer packs to keep these items cold.
- Pack meat and poultry on the bottom of the cooler, and foods you will use first on top.
- Store the cooler in the coolest part of the car and in the shade.
- Keep it closed as much as possible.
- Use one cooler for cold drinks and a separate one for food.
- Put leftovers back in it as soon as you are finished eating.
- Toss any perishable foods once the ice or freezer packs have melted
- Toss any foods that look or smell suspicious.
- When in doubt ... throw it out!
- Sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 to 45 with both UVA and UVB protection should be used. Remember, it wears off if you sweat or swim. Reapply every couple of hours or after you swim and check that it's not more than three years old.
- Clothing that is loose fitting, made from tightly woven fabrics and covers your arms and legs offers the best sun protection. For example, a typical t-shirt has a SPF less than 15. Remember that you can use sunscreen under your clothes to increase your protection.
- Hats with a wide brim offer shade for your head and face as well as your ears and neck. Remember that the same rules apply to hats that apply to clothing. Make sure to apply sunscreen to any unprotected areas such as your ears and neck if you wear a baseball cap.
- Sunglasses should always be worn to protect your eyes from UV rays (which can cause cataracts) and the tender skin around the eyes (no one wants premature wrinkles). Sunglasses should wrap around your eyes to provide as much protection as possible from both UVA and UVB rays (check to make sure they do both).
- Shade offers good sun protection, whether it is under an umbrella, a shelter or a tree.
- Control your exposure to the sun as much as possible. Use the above tips, especially during the sun's peak hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Be aware that skin cancer rates are growing at an alarming rate for fatal melanoma cancers and for skin-disfiguring nonmelanoma cancers, particularly in young women.
For more information on this topic, check out:
*Health Canada — hc-sc.gc.ca, Canadian Food Inspection Agency — inspection.gc.ca, Center for Disease Control — cdc.gov/cancer/skin, Canadian Living - canadianliving.com/health/prevention
Fanshawe College Health and Safety Services in D1021 (or call 519-452-4424)