Summer is full of enjoyable foods, ranging from fresh produce to grilled entrees. Preparing delicious food comes with the responsibility of keeping everyone safe from food-borne illnesses. It is especially important when consuming raw produce or produce alongside animal proteins.

Be safe this summer season by following these few simple food safety tips.

Rinse Produce

Whether or not you will be eating the skin, rinse fruits and vegetable under cold running water to remove any debris. No produce washes, soaps or detergents are necessary, just some plain water will do the trick. Even items such as melons, should be rinsed due to the knife cutting through the rind and into the flesh you will consume.

Keep Perishables Cold

To prevent bacteria growth, keep perishable foods in the fridge until it’s time to eat or in a cooler with ice when transporting to a different location. Return leftovers to the fridge or cooler once finished serving to keep that proper temperature. It is especially important for cut produce to be refrigerated.  Perishables should be kept at 40°F or colder and not left out more than two hours.

Cook Protein to Proper Temperature

Use a food-safe thermometer to check internal temperatures. Beef burgers should reach 160°F, chicken breasts should reach 165°F, pork chops should reach 145°F, and fish should reach 145°F. Cooking protein to the proper temperature will also help to ensure the fruits or veggies that are being cooked alongside them are safe to eat, such as a dish like kabobs on the grill. Clean thermometers after each use to avoid cross contamination.

Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart | Food Safety and Inspection Service (

Avoid Cross Contamination

Summer dishes include many cooled and raw recipes, such as grilled protein and salads. Avoid cross contamination by using different kitchen tools and equipment for each item or wash with hot water and soap in between recipes. Think of items like cutting boards, knives, serving spoons, etc.


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