Labor Day Food Safety Tips

The time of year is upon us – You know, when nearly everyone within an office setting starts saying, “I can’t believe summer is almost over!” or “How is it almost September already!”

Well, you see, the natural progression of the calendar places September right after August so that’s how. Not that I’m an expert or anything but hey…

In any event, the glorious long weekend of Labor Day is awaiting. A weekend hopefully filled with fun events and activities with your friends and loved ones. Maybe you’re setting up a slip n’ slide or hosting a BBQ, maybe both?

But if you are having a BBQ, you should be versed on proper food safety practices. You don’t want Aunt Kathy getting sick, do you? You don’t have to answer.

Let’s break down some basic tips for your weekend festivities:

Preparing Meats:

Ladies & Gents – you don’t want to get food poisoning this weekend, right!? Me either, so let’s handle our meats with care.

How can we do that? Well, let me tell you.

  • Wash your hands! … I don’t care if you’re not at work.
    • The CDC estimates washings our hands can:
    • Reduce the risk of diarrhea by 31%
    • Reduce diarrheal illness in those with weakened immune systems by 58%
    • Reduce respiratory illness by 16-21%

I’m not sure about your parties – but there’s usually only one bathroom, so no one want to get the party running, if you know what I mean.

  • Separate different meats to avoid cross-contamination
    • Consider keeping your burgers on one tray and the chicken in another
    • Do not use the same utensils to handle both
    • Wash all surfaces and utensils that were in contact with raw meat
  • Ensure all meats are cooked to their safest minimum temperature
    • Steak/Ground Beef: 160F.
    • Chicken/Turkey: 165F.
    • Seafood: 145F.

Fruits-Veggies-Salads:

What’s a little BBQ without some watermelon and macaroni salad? It’s probably still the same realistically but just go with it, please!

However, if these staples are present, we can do a few things to protect them and us.

  • Cover all fruits and vegetables once prepared

Is there anything worse than seeing flies on your food? There is not, so give it to the dog or Aunt Kathy, depending on how she’s acting that day.

  • Chill your produce & salads
    • Bacteria will start growing once produce goes above 40 degrees F
    • Lay your trays over ice or a refrigerated surface, if available
  • Rinse or blanch fruits and vegetables prior to prep
    • This will rid of any dirt or bacteria that may be on their skins

You don’t want to hear someone ask “Is this corn supposed to have a sandy texture!?” That would be bad. Not to mention you probably didn’t provide floss for your guests – unless you’re a dentist.

So by simply implementing these best practices you will ensure the safety of your food this holiday weekend, all while protecting and enjoying the company of your friends and loved ones.

Enjoy!