SafeFood: Temperatures Rising

Yes – it is hot out there! Of course it is mid-summer and I happen to be in Houston (known for its humidity) visiting family so am feeling the heat from sun up until sun down. I usually try to avoid summer visits just because of the heat – although Iowa has its share of hot weather days. Really, is there any place that doesn’t experience a few scorchers? When temperatures push triple digits, you know it’s hot!  The hot weather does mean a few changes in how some tasks are accomplished, such as grocery shopping. In winter, we don’t have to worry about temperature controlled for safety foods becoming temperature abused because the outdoors is like a freezer and the inside of the car like a cooler! So, if a reusable insulated grocery sack is forgotten, there aren’t any worries. However in summer, the appliances change (think ovens!), so I do my best not to leave home without an insulated bag and ice packs. Even with the dozens of reusable grocery bags around the house, I have forgotten those at times. In that case, using the plastic bag as an insulator helps. If I forget the ice packs (or stopping at the store on the way home from work), purchasing frozen juice concentrate or frozen fruit works well as a substitute cold source. While most urban dwellers are minutes from the grocery store, living in rural areas may mean a half hour (or longer) trip home. And in this hot weather, once home, put the groceries away ASAP! While we generally say two hours is ok without refrigeration or hot holding of foods, in summer, that window of time is shortened. Plus, quality of product won’t be lost. Stay cool and keep your food safe!

Catherine

Catherine

Catherine Hemphill Strohbehn has been a faculty member at Iowa State University in the Hospitality Management Program for 30 years. She is a State Specialist with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University. As part of her work, she conducts research, develops educational materials and provides programs to help retail foodservices use their resources effectively and ensure safe food is served. Cathy is a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Certified Professional in Food Safety from the National Environmental Health Association.

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