Summer temps can ruin food safety for grocery shoppers

Summer temps can ruin food safety for grocery shoppers - 7 a.m.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - While grocery shopping, people are urged to consider how the heat can affect food safety.

Did you know the heat in the trunk of a car can quickly spoil fresh fruit and vegetables? It can also speed the growth of germs and contribute to food poisoning.

The USDA Food and Safety Inspection Service recommends that meat never be left out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours. However, the time gets cut in half when temperatures reach 90 degrees. Bacteria thrives until temperatures reach about 140° F. According to the National Weather Service, if it's 80° F outside, the car temperature can reach 99° F in just 10 minutes and 109° F in 20 minutes

Consider keeping a medium sized cooler and a few ice packs in your car during the summer or buy a few insulated bags to keep your food as cool as possible after you're done shopping.

Consumer Reports recommends shopping strategically. Make perishable foods the last items you put into a grocery cart, so they stay cool for as long as possible.

Also, shoppers are urged to bag onions separately to keep them from contaminating every other food.

Some other easy tips: park your car in the shade to keep it turning into an oven and plan errands strategically so grocery shopping is the last thing done before heading straight home.

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