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Summer food safety

Here are some tips to enjoy those summer salads, fresh vegetables and mouth-watering barbecued meats in a safe way.

During warm weather, it is particularly important to take extra precautions and practise safe food handling. Warmer temperatures result in a higher number of food poisoning cases each year. It is recommended to follow these precautions carefully, especially during summer.

  • Always wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure food reaches a safe internal temperature.
  • Be sure not to put cooked food items on the same plate that held raw food.
  • Refrigerate leftovers as quickly as possible.

According to foodsafety.gov, these are the recommended safe cooking temperatures:

Category Food Temperature (°F)  Rest Time 
Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb 160 None
Turkey, Chicken 165 None
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb Steaks, roasts, chops 145 3 minutes
Poultry Chicken & Turkey, whole 165 None
Poultry breasts, roasts 165 None
Poultry thighs, legs, wings 165 None
Duck & Goose 165 None
Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165 None
Pork and Ham Fresh pork 145 3 minutes
Fresh ham (raw) 145 3 minutes
Precooked ham (to reheat) 140 None
Eggs & Egg Dishes Eggs Cook until yolk and white are firm None
Egg dishes 160 None
Leftovers & Casseroles Leftovers 165 None
Casseroles 165 None
Seafood Fin Fish 145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork. None
Shrimp, lobster, and crabs Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque. None
Clams, oysters, and mussels Cook until shells open during cooking. None
Scallops Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm. None

As we age, our immune system weakens and our bodies take longer to recover from food poisoning. Older people in particular should ensure to follow the above tips closely when preparing their meals.

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