Posted on April 8, 2024 | by in Uncategorized

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Picnic Safety Tips

Whether you want to enjoy a simple family outing or are celebrating a special occasion, a picnic is a perfect way to combine great food with company. But when it comes to keeping your picnic safe, you need to keep the organisms you can’t see from spoiling your fun. When preparing for a picnic, follow these simple guidelines for safe outdoor eating

Packing and Storing: Pack chilled foods in an insulated cooler just before leaving. Opt for two coolers – one with drinks and the other with perishable food, and surround the contents of both coolers with plenty of ice or frozen gel packs. Also, pack the cooler until it’s full; it will stay cold longer than one that’s only partially full.

Proper Transport: Place the cooler in the front of your air-conditioned car, rather than the trunk or rear. Then when you arrive at the picnic site, place the cooler in a shaded area.

Hand Washing: Always wash your hands before and after handling food, especially if you’re placing raw meat on the grill. Just in case soap and water aren’t available at the picnic site, be sure to bring a bottle of water, soap, paper towels, anti-bacterial towelettes and plastic garbage bags.

The Two-Hour Rule: Bacteria and organisms that cause food poisoning thrive and multiply between the temperatures of 40 and 140°F. Limit the amount of time prepared foods are kept out to under two hours (or one hour if the outside temperature is 90°F or hotter). Discard any leftovers.

Meat Safety: Place beef, poultry and fish in the bottom of the cooler when packing to prevent dripping. Pack a meat thermometer to make sure that meats reach a safe temperature, and cook them within one hour of leaving home. Grill chicken, turkey, ground chicken and ground turkey to 165°F; pork/beef (steaks, chops and roasts) and fish to 145°F; and ground beef/pork/veal/lamb to 160°F. Use separate plates and utensils when handling uncooked meat and another clean set when removing and serving grilled food.

Alternate Options: When refrigeration options are limited, pack foods that don’t require insulation. Opt for unpeeled fresh fruit, nut butter sandwiches, dried fruit and nuts, muffins, crackers and chips.

With a little prevention, you can make your next picnic a safe and delicious one for your family and friends.