Labor Day Weekend is coming up and there is no better way to savor the fleeting summer sunshine than with a delicious cookout.  Whether you are hosting your own BBQ or bringing your signature dish to a friend’s house, it is important that you follow food safety guidelines.  This is part 2 of a week-long series that will look at common food poisoning culprits, easy ways to avoid them, and tasty recipes that you can safely and confidently serve to your friends and family.

Food Safety Blog Post 2

Although the number of harmful germs is large, it only takes 4 simple steps to prevent food poisoning.

•   Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before, during and after you prepare food.
•   Even if surfaces look clean, germs can live on them for days. Wash all surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water before, after, and in between preparing each item.
•   Fresh fruit and vegetables should be rinsed with water before using.
•   Meat, poultry and eggs should not be washed.

• Use separate cutting boards, utensils and plates for produce and raw meat, poultry, seafood, and any other food that should be cooked.
• Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other items in your fridge.  The juices can contaminate ready-to-eat foods.
• Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs in your grocery cart and bags to prevent them from dripping on other foods.

• Use a food thermometer to make sure your food has been cooked at a safe temperature.
• Keep food hot after cooking – at least 140˚F or higher.
• Microwave food thoroughly.

• Your refrigerator should be between 40˚F and 32˚F.
• Your freezer should be below 0˚F.
• Refrigerate food within two hours (in the summer months, one hour).
• Don’t thaw food on your counter.  Use the microwave, refrigerator or cold water.

For more information on foodborne illness, contact the Boston Public Health Commission at (617) 534-5611 or visit our website.


Rachel Bocchino is the IDB Social Media Outreach Intern for STI Education.  She attends the College of the Holy Cross, is a Classics Major/Chemistry Minor and in the Pre-Health Program.  She will graduate in 2014.