During the summer, you have to take extra safety precautions with your food. The excessive Las Vegas heat can cause foods such as meat, poultry and seafood to spoil faster than usual. Many people enjoy having picnics and barbecues during the summer time, but outdoor meals provide the perfect place for bacteria and other pathogens in food to multiply. Follow these tips below to reduce the risk of a food-borne illnesses this summer.

Wash your hands

Always wash your hands before eating. Even if you think your hands are clean enough, you should still wash them before handling any food products. Use warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds to ensure clean hands for eating. An easy way to make sure you washed your hands for a sufficient amount of time is to sing “Row, row, row your boat” twice in your head.

Marinate foods

All of the meat that is in your fridge should be marinated. Make sure to never use sauce that was used to marinate raw meat on cooked foods.

Check the temperature of food

Many people will determine when meat is cooked enough based on the color. This isn’t an accurate or safe way to determine if the meat is fully cooked. The only sure way to know when the meat is ready to eat is to use a temperature gauge. Poultry should be at least 165 degrees, ground meat should be at least 160 degrees and steaks and fish should be at least 145 degrees.

Don’t reuse plates

In an attempt to save dishes, people often times place grilled food on the same plate the raw meat was once on. Bacteria can remain on the plate if not washed properly. The plate will be suitable to use after being washed with hot water and soap.

Don’t let food sit out

Food should be thrown away if it has been sitting out for two or more hours. In a city where temperatures reach well above 100 degrees, it’s safest to throw out foods that have been sitting out for even just one hour.

Icebox etiquette

The more that is packed into a cooler, the colder temperatures it will be able to maintain. Pack plenty of ice and freezer packs to ensure it stays at a cold temperature. Be sure to place the cooler in a shaded area so the ice won’t melt. Because people will be in and out of the drink cooler, keep beverages in a separate cooler. This allows the food cooler to remain at a colder temperature, preserving food longer.

Pack smart

When loading up the cooler, place raw meats at the bottom. If the meat does end up leaking juices into the cooler, it won’t contaminate any other food. If you are packing both raw meat and cooked meat, use separate containers.

If you contract a food-borne illness, you can visit Las Vegas Urgent Care. The doctors will provide quality service quicker than in an emergency room. For more information about health care Las Vegas, contact 702.852.2000.

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