Helping America's Most Vulnerable

6 Tips for Food Safety this Summer

Whether it is campfire grilling, sack lunches on a hike, or a potluck picnic in the park, you are bound to eat outside sometime during this Colorado summer. Do you know how to ensure your food is safe to eat?

Every day the Volunteers of America Michael Kern Kitchen has to keep hundreds of pounds of food hot, cold, and just right. The kitchen cooks for close to 2,000 people each day! Meals are served in dining centers, at the Volunteer of America Head Start programs, in Volunteers of America housing facilities, and through the Meals on Wheels program.

Here are some guidelines on safe food temperatures from some of the experts at the Volunteers of America kitchen:

  1. Hot foods should be kept at 135˚F or higher.
  2. Cold foods should be kept at 41˚F or colder.
  3. Keeping food covered at all times will eliminate potential contaminates from falling into the food. This is especially important for hot foods where coverings will also help retain heat.
  4. Use a food thermometer to measure the food's internal temperature frequently.
  5. Discard any hot food after four hours if it has not been maintained at a temperature of 135˚F or higher.
  6. Remember it is better to discard potentially hazardous food than risk health or safety!
Happy summer picnicking!