The Simple Guide To Picnic Food Safety

Dated: 07/21/2017

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July is National Picnic Month and a great time to get together with family and friends for a memorable adventure in this beautiful, warm weather. What else thrives in warm weather?  Bacteria!  Enjoy your picnic while remembering to protect yourself from harmful bacteria by following these guidelines:

 

  1. Cleanliness Since you cannot see bacteria, take every precaution when handling food. Always wash your hands, before, during and after food preparation. Bring hand sanitizer with you if you know that water is not available at the picnic site.

  2. Planning Do not partially cook food and plan on finishing it later because bacteria would accumulate to such a degree that the bacteria could not be destroyed with further cooking. Store food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. If there are any extra spaces in the cooler, add ice or gel packs because a filled cooler retains the cold for a longer period of time. By the way, if you do not have a cooler, you can still enjoy a picnic by bringing foods such as fruit, raw vegetables, crackers and peanut butter.

  3. Cooking on the picnic grounds Put the cooler in the shade and cover all plates, cups and cutlery to protect from germ carrying insects. Bring your thermometer with you to check that food is thoroughly cooked: hamburgers should reach 160 degrees F, chicken or turkey breast should be 170 and whole poultry should be 180 degrees F.

  4. Leftovers If there is still ice in the cooler when you get home and if it did not stay out for more than an hour, then it is good to put in the refrigerator and eat later. However, if the temperature was higher than 90 degrees F and remained out for more than an hour, then it should be discarded.

 

For additional information, please see the following links:

https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/2015/06/picnic.html and http://www.thepicnicsite.com/picnic-safety.html

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