Summer isn’t only about barbecues but picnics as well! The season is a great time for some outdoor fun with family and friends. Make sure picnics stay fun without the threat of foodborne illness. Bacteria that can cause foodborne illness multiply faster in the summer heat. Here are tips on how to always keep the food safe.
Step 1: Packing and Transportation
Don’t thaw on kitchen counters as this may increase the chance of bacterial growth. Thaw food in the refrigerator.
Keep hot food hot. Don’t pack food for a picnic if it has just been cooked or is still warm. Coolers cannot chill food fast enough to prevent bacteria from growing.
Keep cold food cold. Cold food must be stored at 40°F or below in order to prevent bacterial growth. Pack coolers with ice or use frozen gel packs.
Use separate coolers for raw meats, ready to eat foods and beverages. Securely wrap items in order to prevent cross-contamination.
Rinse produce under running water before placing them in the cooler or storage area.
Step 2: During the Picnic
- Wash hands properly with warm water and soap. If running water is not accessible at the picnic site, bring a jug of water or moist tissues.
Bring hand sanitizers, paper towels and napkins.
Food must not be left out under the sun for more than 2 hours. If the temperature is above 90° F, food must not sit out for more than an hour.
Keep coolers under a shade.
Cook food according to their safe internal minimum temperatures. View a guide here.
Don’t reuse utensils and plates that previously held raw items to cooked food.
Step 3: Leftovers
- Unpack the cooler as soon as arriving home.
Leftovers must be refrigerated immediately. If unsure about the quality, discard leftovers.