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Spring Food Safety

Spring is here and summer is upon us, which is the time for cookouts and picnics with friends and family. During warmer weather, it is important to protect our family and ourselves from foodborne illnesses (FBI), which are diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, and parasites in our food. Symptoms of FBI are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, head ache, and fever. Some bacteria, such as botulism, can cause symptoms that can be severe and life threatening, such as problems swallowing and breathing. To keep FBI away from your picnic, here are some tips from our pediatric experts:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for 15 seconds before and after preparing food and eating.
  • Cook meat to proper temperature
    • Turkey Thigh-180°F
    • Turkey Breast-170°F
    • Beef Roast/Prime Rib well done-170°F
    • Hamburgers-160°F
    • Pork Roast well done-170°F
    • Ham 140°F
    • Chicken breast-170°F
    • Chicken drumstick/thigh/wing-180°F
    • Sausage uncooked-160°F
    • Sausage cooked-165°F
    • Venison-160°F
    • Fish-145°F
    • Egg dishes-160°F
    • Seafood-145°F
    • Leftovers-165°F
  • Hot foods should stay above 140 °F and cold foods below 40°F. Use ice to keep foods cold and food warmers to keep foods hot.
  • Avoid keeping foods out of the temperature danger zone (40-140°F) for greater than 2 hours or 1 hour if temperature is above 90°F.
  • Never thaw meats at room temperature. Thawing food in the temperature danger zone creates an environment for bacterial growth. The outside thaws before the inside, which increases the outside portion to temperatures above 40°F while the inside portion remains frozen.
  • Meats should be thawed before cooking, unless food package states otherwise. This ensures that the meat cooks evenly.
  • Avoid cross contamination. Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and vegetables.
  • To avoid insects from coming into contact with your food, keep your meats and other dishes covered.

Enjoy the summer and keep your foods safe!

About our Expert: Shannon Burkett, RD, LD, dietician at Dayton Children’s

Shannon is a gradute of Purdue University with a BA in elementary education and a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago with a DPD Dietetics and Nutrition. She completed a dietetic internship at Miami Valley Hospital and worked at WIC and long term care before coming to Dayton Children’s. Shannon has worked with the Hematology and Oncology population at Dayton Children’s for two years. She also has certificate in childhood and adolescent weight management through the American Dietetic Association. Her favorite hobby is cooking. She loves trying new recipes and creating meals from scratch. She says, “There is just something that is so rewarding about eating a delicious healthy meal that I have created, without using prepacked, processed foods. It’s both good for my body and my family’s health!”

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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