It’s officially summer, and temperatures are hot throughout the U.S. Summer weekends are synonymous with bbq’s and picnics, but are you taking the recommended precautions to keep your food safe? Microorganisms love to grown in hot weather, and develop quickly. Here are 7 tips to follow when planning to eat outside.
1. Keep perishable food on ice at all times. If it doesn’t fit in the cooler, leave it behind, or bring foods that do not require refrigeration.
2. As your packing your food, make sure and keep raw meats separated from cooked items. That potato salad sitting at the bottom of the cooler could get pan drippings from your marinated meats so make sure and pack the cooler with the meats at the bottom – this keeps them colder until you are ready to use anyway. If it’s possible, pack the raw meat in a separate cooler.
3. Clean all of your BBQ and picnic equipment during use. Don’t touch that hotdog for your kids with the same fork that just flipped over the uncooked chicken breast. Have soap or detergent for washing your hands and cooking utensils. 4. Speaking of washing, will there be access to water? If not bring your own gallon just for cleaning.
5. If you are using ice for your drinks, DO NOT use the same ice you packed your food in unless it is an unopened bag of ice. Again the ice could have been contaminate while transporting the food so don’t take a chance.
6. Don’t partially cook your food and then finish it later. This actually encourages the rapid growth of organisms. Either cook it all the way and reheat later or don’t cook it at all until you are ready to it and keep it on ice until you are ready to cook it.
7. Don’t leave items like cole slaw, macaroni or potato salad on a table with the hot sun hitting it for more than 30 minutes. The container or Tupperware should still feel cool to the touch. It’s best to discard any uneaten perishable items unless you are sure they have maintained a cool temperature.