With a flood of media coverage and seemingly endless social media conversations about COVID-19 and racial unrest, it can be easy to get discouraged. In fact, in our last blog post, we covered the heavy mental health toll the pandemic and associated events have had on millions of people (and pets) around the world. But good things still happen. Life is still good. Bacon is still a thing. So, please allow us to encourage you to embrace the positive by focusing on something fun we all have in common – food! This summer, as you prepare to host intimate family barbecues (or larger gatherings on Zoom), take some steps to make sure the light summer fare you enjoy is safe and healthy.
Summer Food Safety Tips
- Check recent food recalls.
Eliminate potentially dangerous items from your menu. If the product details list the food product you have at home, return the product to the place of purchase for a refund or dispose of it in a way that guarantees no one will consume it. And if you think it’s safe but just aren’t sure, you could always give it to the dog.
- Take advantage of the free resources offered by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
- Check Your Steps
The FDA estimates that one in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning. Reduce your risk of this by cleaning, separating, cooking and chilling food. The FDA calls this “checking your steps:” “Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.”
- Store Food by Type.
In the same way food safety inspectors expect restaurant staff to separate products, so should family cooks. Keep milk, cheese and dairy products away from meats and poultry. And maybe keep pork chops close to the dog. Get the latest tips and techniques to keep specific foods safe and prevent food poisoning by referencing the free resource on FoodSafety.gov.
- Keep Food Safe by Type of Events and Seasons
Whether you’re planning a small summer cookout or a big holiday celebration, a camping trip or a potluck dinner, follow special precautions to keep guests safe from food poisoning.
- Food Safety in a Disaster or Emergency
Find out how to keep food safe during and after an emergency, such as a hurricane, flood, fire, or loss of power.
- Download the free FoodKeeper App.
Use this app to help you use food while at peak quality and reduce waste. I wonder if I’ll be able to use the app without opposable thumbs?
Safe Grocery Shopping During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Check the status of the store. Is it open for shoppers, curbside pickup, or home delivery only? Also pay attention to special shopping hours for seniors.
- Make your shopping list in advance to minimize the amount of time you will be around others in the store. This will protect you as well as grocery store staff.
- Buy just one to two weeks’ worth of groceries at once.
- Wear a cloth facial covering or mask.
- Observe social distancing markers.
- Take your own wipes or those supplied by the store. Wipe down the handles of the shopping cart or basket.
- If you opt to use reusable shopping bags, bag your own groceries to keep grocery store staff safe. Also, clean the bags on a regular basis.
- Wash your hands or paws soon as you return home from the store and after you put away groceries. There is no evidence that COVID-19 passes from grocery store products. But if you wish, you can wipe each item with a sanitizing wipe and dry with paper towels before putting everything away.
- Follow these tips for storing and preparing food at home. Clean. Separate. Rinse and chill. I like to chill.
- Refrigerate things that could go bad within two hours of purchase.
- Check to make sure your refrigerator is set to a safe 40-degree temperature and that your freezer is set to 0 degrees.
- Wipe down kitchen counters and other “high-touch” surfaces often, including after you put away your groceries. Or you could let the dog lick them. It wouldn’t be sanitary but your pet would sure appreciate it.
About the AUS Fire Life Safety Training System
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