Don’t Let Bacteria Pull Up a Chair at Your Table This Summer


I hope you had a wonderful weekend and were able to enjoy the beautiful weather. I saw many families outside enjoying fun activities and having picnics together. This a great time of the year to enjoy spending quality time with family and friends outdoors, but when food is involved you must be mindful of food safety. Warm weather provides an opportunity for foodborne bacteria to multiply rapidly and you definitely do not want to allow this at your table.


Follow these simple guidelines for safe food handling when eating outdoors

1.  Wash, Wash, Wash

  •  If soap and water is unavailable, bring disposable wet wipes to keep your hands and surfaces clean at all times
  •  Clean your produce before you pack it in the cooler
  •  Do not reuse platters or utensils
  • Serve items from the grill on a clean platter using clean utensils 


2.  Organize Your Cooler Contents

  • Do not cross contaminate
  • Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood securely wrapped and away from your other raw or prepared foods


3.   Keep Food at the proper temperature

  • Cold food should be kept stored at 40° F or below
  • Place cold food in a well insulated cooler with ice and consider packing meat, poultry and seafood while it is still frozen so that it will remain colder longer
  • Preparing meat from a frozen state will take ~50% longer to prepare than if using fresh meat
  • Consider packing your beverages in a separate container to minimize the amount of times that the cooler is opened, allowing the perishable foods to remain colder longer
  • Only take out the amount of meat from the cooler that will fit on the grill at one time
  • Hot food should be kept at or above 140°F
  • Consider keeping hot food in a well-insulated cooler until ready to serve
  •  Do not leave hot or cold foods sitting out for more than 2 hours or 1 hour in temperatures above 90°F


4.  Cook meat, poultry and seafood to a safe temperature

  • Always use a thermometer to assure the proper cooking temperature has been reached
  • Steaks and roasts                145°F
  • Fish                                      145°F
  • Pork                                      145°F
  • Ground Beef                         160°F
  • Poultry                                  165°F


Have fun and enjoy safe picnicking at the same time

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