The Pima County Health Department has released some tips for healthy summer eating, crisp red peppers, juicy peaches, and leafy green spinach all reach their peak of flavor during the summer months. But before you enjoy the delicious produce of the season, it’s important to take precautions in cleaning and preparing your food.

A few important tips to help you safely enjoy your food and reduce your risk of getting sick:

• Before buying, check all fresh fruits and vegetables to be sure they are not bruised or damaged;

• Stay clean: Wash your hands and surfaces often with warm, soapy water; • Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water before eating them; • Separate foods, especially raw meat, poultry, and seafood, to avoid cross-

contamination; • Cook all foods to proper temperatures, using a food thermometer; • Refrigerate foods promptly.

For picnics, barbecues, and when eating outdoors: • Keep cold foods cold:

o Stock the cooler full of ice; o Avoid frequently opening the cooler; o Keep food and beverages separate;

• Keep hot foods hot: Food should not be left out of the cooler or off the grill for more than two hours (or one hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees)

• Consider nonperishable alternatives such as pretzels instead of potato salad or washed whole fruit instead of fruit salad;

• When eating outdoors, keep hand sanitizer nearby. For more food safety tips, visit www.fightbac.org. The Pima County Health Department wishes you a safe and healthy summer!

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