Summer food safety tips

Vegetable skewers, corn on the cob, and meats on a barbeque.

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In the summer, it gets hotter outside. Bacteria grow faster in warm and wet places. This can make your food go bad faster. So, you need to be careful with your food during the summer.

Storing food

To keep your food safe, follow these tips:

  1. Keep food at the right temperature. Bacteria grow quickly between 4°C and 60°C. On hot days, don’t leave food at room temperature for more than an hour.
  2. Put fresh food in the fridge or freezer right after you buy it. Check the fridge and freezer storage chart to know the right temperature and how long you can keep different types of food.
  3. When you marinate meat, put it in the fridge or a cooler. Don’t use uncooked marinade as sauce for cooked food.

Barbecue time!

Here are some tips to keep your food safe:

  1. Keep your food in a cooler with ice packs. Make sure raw meat is in sealed containers so it doesn’t contaminate other food. Use a separate cooler for drinks.
  2. Don’t let bacteria from raw meat get on other food. Use sealed containers and separate cutting boards, utensils, and dishes for raw and cooked food. Wash your hands and equipment before handling raw meat.
  3. Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter. You can also use the microwave, but cook the meat right away.
  4. Clean your grill before using it. Use a brush, steel wool, or crumpled aluminum foil. Be careful with metal brushes – the bristles can come off and get in your food.
  5. Use a food thermometer to make sure your meat is cooked all the way through. You can print a chart with Safe Internal Cooking Temperatures to keep in your kitchen.

Shopping for food

When you go grocery shopping, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Buy frozen or refrigerated food last. This includes things like meat, fish, poultry, cheeses, and ice cream. When you get home, put them in your freezer right away so they don’t go bad.
  2. Keep raw meat, fish, and poultry in separate bags from vegetables and fruits in your grocery bag. If you have a cooler in your car, use it to keep perishable items safe during long trips.
  3. In the summer, get fresh fruits and vegetables. You can find them at major supermarkets or farmers’ markets in Manitoba. Check out the Farmers’ Markets Association of Manitoba Co-Op website for market schedules.

To make sure food is safe to eat, do these four things:
CLEAN – Wash your hands and surfaces often. Use warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after touching food.
SEPARATE – Don’t mix different foods together.
COOK – Make sure food is cooked enough. Check the temperature to be sure.
CHILL – Put leftovers and takeout food in the fridge within two hours. Keep the temperature below 4°C.
Article updated June 19, 2023.
Sources: Seasonal Food Safety, The Government of Canada; Summer and Vacations,; and What can I do to keep my food safe? Dieticians of Canada. Retrieved and updated April 17, 2018.

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Community Resources

For more resources and links about food safety go to Safe Food Handling Tips at the Government of Canada site.

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