This weekend is Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the grilling season. Summer is a great time for cookouts, picnics and all kinds of outdoor fun. Don’t let foodborne illness spoil your summer.
Follow these 9 tips for summer picnic safety to make sure your next outing doesn’t end with a trip to the emergency room.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before handling food and utensils.
- Unless you are planning to picnic the next day or are freezing food, do not prepare meals ahead of time to prevent bacteria growth.
- Cool mayonnaise-based foods immediately after preparing them.
- Do not let food items sit out for more than one hour.
- While eating, keep foods covered so that insects do not land on the food and spread diseases to you.
Temperature is a critical factor in preventing Foodborne illness:
- Keep cold foods at 40° F or colder. If you are at an outdoor gathering, do so by placing your food in an insulted cooler with ice or frozen gel packs.
- Hot foods must be kept at 140° F or hotter. To keep containers warm, wrap them in a towel followed by newspaper, and then place them in a box.
- When cooking outdoors, always cook food thoroughly right away. Do not partially cook food to finish later. This allows toxins, a harmful form of bacteria that is killed when cooking, to form.
- The trunk of your car can exceed temperatures of 150° F, so it’s best to put coolers in the passenger area of your car. Once you have arrived at your destination, place coolers in the shade and keep them closed until you are ready to eat.