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Don’t spoil your summer fun, keep food safety in mind

FAPC wants Oklahomans to have a safe and fun summer and suggests food safety tips when participating in outdoor activities.

By Brittany Gilbert, FAPC Communications Services Student

(Stillwater, Okla. – July 21, 2015) The heat is on this summer, and many families are packing coolers of food and enjoying outdoor activities, such as camping, fishing and road trips. But if the food is not properly handled in the heat of the summer, it could be a source of foodborne illness.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service, summer is a peak time for the occurrence of foodborne illnesses.

“There is nothing more enjoyable than hitting the open road or backcountry camping during the summer time,” said Ravi Jadeja, food safety specialist for Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center. “In order to protect you and your love ones from these foodborne illnesses, proper food handling during various outdoor activities is very important.”

FAPC wants Oklahomans to have a safe and fun summer and suggests the following food safety tips when participating in outdoor activities.

Road Trip

  • Have enough ice and frozen gel-packs available for the coolers to keep the foods cold.
  • Pack raw meats and poultry separately in different coolers from other foods.
  • It is a good idea to have two separate coolers for long multiple-day trips. One cooler should be filled with food items for the same-day consumption and another for items to be used later in the vacation.
  • Minimize the frequency of opening and closing the cooler to maintain a safe temperature.

Camping and Boating

  • Protect your cooler from direct sunlight by covering it with a tarp or poncho to maintain a low temperature in the cooler.
  • Do not eat any food left out for more than two hours. If the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, discard any perishable food items, which are setting out for more than 1 hour.
  • Use clean utensils while cooking.
  • Use separate utensils for storage of raw and cooked food items.
  • Cook meat to proper temperatures by using the following internal temperature guide:
    • Poultry: 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Ground meat: 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Steaks, roasts and chops: 145 degrees Fahrenheit plus 3 minutes to rest.
    • Don’t guess; use a food thermometer to make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked.
  • Keep hands clean while handling food. If clean, potable water is not available for washing hands, use disposable moist towels.
  • Keep cold items cold (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit) and hot food items hot (above 140 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Choose more shelf-stable food items for a multiple-day camping trip.
  • Use disposable wipes or biodegradable soap for washing hands and dishwashing.

FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop, and deliver technical and business information that will stimulate and support the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.

For more information on FAPC, visit, email or call 405-744-6071.

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Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant system of interdisciplinary programs that prepares students for success. OSU is America’s Brightest Orange. Through leadership and service, OSU is preparing students for a bright future and building a brighter world for all. As Oklahoma’s only university with a statewide presence, OSU improves the lives of people in Oklahoma, the nation and the world through integrated, high-quality teaching, research and outreach. OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 24,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, OSU has graduated more than 245,000 students to serve Oklahoma, the nation and the world.