Protecting food on hot summer days

We all love a hot summer; still, soaring temperatures in­crease the risk of becoming infected with a foodborne illness.

Here are a few shopping tips to help keep food pur­chases safe from harmful bac­teria and reduce the risk of contracting a foodborne illness:

– make the grocery stop the last errand before head home;

– consider using a hand sanitizer before and after push­ing the grocery cart;

– take a cooler or an insultatedinsulated bag with a frozen pack in the car to carry meat, fish, dairy, and fresh produce home from the store, especially in hot weather;

– consider carrying grocer­ies in an air-conditioned car, rather than in a hot trunk;

– choose fruits and vege­tables with the fewest cuts and bruises. Bacteria can thrive in such damage spots;

– despite the temptation, avoid sampling unwashed fruits or vegetables;

– keep reuseable grocery bags clean;

– shop often to avoid overstuffing the refrigerator. Cold air (4°C or 40°F or colder) needs to circulate above and beneath food to keep it safe;

– separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods in the shopping cart, in grocery bags, and again in the re­frigerator. Despite efforts to reduce plastic, a small plastic bag inside a reusable bag is a smart choice to reduce the risk of meat, fish or poultry juices contaminating other food; and

For more tips on food safety visit:

Mary Carver, P.H.Ec., is an Ottawa-based Professional Home Economist and a member of the Ontario Home Economics Association.