Summer Food Safety Tips

Ah, summer! An excellent time for barbecues, picnics, hiking and boating. There are many outdoor eating opportunities with family and friends—and the last guest you want to invite is food borne illness. Clean your hands, utensils and surfaces with soap and water, then follow these tips to keep food safe:

• Separate raw meat and poultry—and the plates and utensils that touch them—from other foods. Avoid cross-contamination with raw meats by using clean knives and cutting boards for produce and other foods.

• Keep hot food in crock-pots or ovens and serve small amounts more frequently.

• Be chill: Avoid leaving food at room temperature for longer than 2 hours (or 1 hour, if over 90°F. Instead, keep food in an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs (ice above and below food is best).

• When in doubt, toss it out: All foods left without temperature control for 1 hour or more and have reached room temperature (>75°F) should not be served to you or your guests.

Getting food poisoning from unsafe food may take hours to days to develop, depending on the type of germ. The most common symptoms food poisoning include upset stomach, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. See a doctor you have severe symptoms, including but not limited to, a fever over 100°F, bloody diarrhea, frequent vomiting that prevents keeping liquids down, and signs of dehydration, including a very dry mouth or throat or little/no urination.

If you’ve been diagnosed with food borne illness, please contact your local health department.

Flyer to share: Summer food safety poster

This health education topic brought to you by the Cooperative Public Health Service Health District — contact Health Educator Maureen O’Reilly with any questions at


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