Summer Food Safety

Grilled Shrimp

Summer is a great time to pack a picnic and head outdoors, but it’s also the season when food poisoning is most likely to occur. Lynne' Schatzlein, a dietitian at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, shares the truth about common summer food safety myths.

Myth: Mayonnaise is usually the cause of food poisoning.
Fact: This is not always true. In the case of prepared salads, like potato salad, it’s usually the protein in the dish, such as chicken or eggs, that causes it to spoil. To make sure your salad is safe to eat, make sure it hasn’t been kept above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than two hours.

Myth: You can tell if your hamburger is done on the grill by looking at its color.
Fact: You can’t count on the color of your food to tell whether it’s safe to eat. Hamburger meat should be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit; eating a hamburger before it reaches this temperature puts you at risk for consuming harmful bacteria. To tell whether your hamburger is fully cooked, use a meat thermometer, which can cost as little as $10.

Myth: Foods chilled in a cooler are safe to eat for several hours.
Fact: Foods that require refrigeration should be kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Try keeping your cooler cool by freezing bottles of water and packing them around your picnic items. Once the bottles thaw, you can drink the water and replace it with new ice to keep your picnic items cold.

For a picnic-perfect recipe, Schatzlein recommends apple tuna sandwiches, which are not only healthy, but tasty, too. Get the apple tuna sandwich recipe.

For More Information
For more information about nutrition counseling, please call 619-740-4632. For more information about nutrition support services for patients, please call 619-740-4621. For health, wellness and weight management classes, please call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277).

To learn more about Sharp's nutrition services or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about nutrition, read the Nutrition News archive.