Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Safety Tips for Summer Dining

  Posted on: June 28, 2011

Submitted by Gordon Maurits, TRU Occupational Health and Safety

The risk of food-borne illness increases during the summer when temperatures are warmer and people are more likely to be cooking outdoors. Harmful bacteria spread quickly in warm, moist conditions, so certain food safety measures should be taken. Here are some food safety tips that can help keep you and your family safe from food poisoning.

Back to School BBQ

Practice food safety and savour your BBQ this summer.


Keep raw foods cold. This can be a challenge when you are outdoors, especially with raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Use a cooler to store your food, with plenty of ice packs to make sure it is kept out of the temperature danger zone of 4°C to 60°C (40°F to 140°F). Keep the cooler out of direct sunlight. Avoid opening it too often because that lets cold air out and warm air in. If you use two separate coolers for food and drinks, the one with the food will not be opened as often, so it will stay cold longer.

“When in doubt, throw it out!”

On hot summer days, don’t keep food at room temperature for more than one hour.

Make sure to keep your raw meat, poultry and seafood away from other foods so that you don’t spread food-borne bacteria between foods. You can avoid cross-contamination by packing or wrapping meat, poultry and seafood separately or by using separate containers which will prevent leaks. If you are packing vegetables in the same cooler, always put meat, poultry and seafood at the bottom of the cooler to keep juices from dripping onto other foods. Never put ready-to-eat or cooked food on the same plate that held raw meat, poultry or seafood. Consider taking along several sets of utensils, cutting boards, or plates. This can help prevent cross-contamination.

Make sure that your hands, plates and utensils are clean. This will help reduce the risk of food-borne illness. Follow the same washing instructions outdoors as you do at home. Bring soap and wash your hands with clean, safe water for at least 20 seconds.

Bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria can be killed by heat. Raw meat, poultry and seafood must be cooked properly to a safe internal temperature (see chart below). You can’t tell by looking. Use a food thermometer to be sure!

Internal Cooking Temperatures

Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts)
Medium-rare 63°C (145°F)
Medium 71°C (160°F)
Well done 77°C (170°F)

Pork (pieces and whole cuts)
71°C (160°F)

Poultry (for example, chicken, turkey, duck)
Pieces 74°C (165°F)
Whole 85°C (185°F)

Ground meat and meat mixtures (for example, burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf, casseroles)
Beef, veal, lamb and pork 71°C (160°F)
Poultry 74°C (165°F)

Egg dishes 74°C (165°F)
Other (for example, hot dogs, stuffing, leftovers, seafood) 74°C (165°F)

Be very careful with your food handling and have a great summer.


Gordon Maurits, Safety Officer
TRU Occupational Health and Safety
 (250) 828-5139