Enjoying the great outdoors with friends and family is one of the highlights of summer! But there’s one guest you do not want at your picnic: bacteria. Harmful bacteria can grow when food safety isn’t made a priority. Keep food safe and still have a great time at the picnic.
Keep it Clean
Before preparing food wash hands, utensils, equipment and work surfaces thoroughly in hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after contact with any food. Use plastic or other non-porous cutting boards to guard against bacteria surviving in pores. Make sure to have separate cutting boards for raw foods to avoid cross-contamination. Once at your picnic, wash hands again before preparing any food.
Keep it Cold:
Leave all cold foods in the refrigerator until the last moment before placing them in the cooler. For example, if you are bringing deviled eggs to the picnic, store each egg half in a muffin tin, wrap with foil, and place in the cooler just before leaving. Pre-chop all foods, place in small containers and remove all excess packaging to allow more space for ice or ice packs. Keep your cooler in the shade during the picnic and open the cooler as little as possible so the food stays cold. Place a food thermometer in the cooler to ensure that food is kept at 40 degrees or colder to prevent bacterial growth.
Keep it Hot:
“Coolers” can also be used to keep food warm. Wrap warm cooked food in foil and place in cooler with a food thermometer to make sure that hot foods stay at a temperature of 140 degrees. At the picnic, keep the cooler lid closed to maintain warmth and protect the food.
After the Guests are Gone:
Once your picnic is over, food safety is still important! Make sure to unpack the cooler as soon as you get home and refrigerate leftover food immediately. Any food left out at the picnic for over 2 hours without proper care should be tossed out; but if the outdoor temperature is over 90 degrees, throw out any food left out after one hour.