Health Tips to Keep You Safe For Picnics and Cookouts This Summer
Food poisoning - It's not what we want to think about when we plan for the fun times of holidays. Take these few precautions while you are enjoying picnics and cookouts this Easter weekend to prevent food-borne illness.
Before you begin:
- Wash your hands often. Food safety begins with hand-washing, even outdoors. To keep your hands clean, use a restroom sink or bring soap and washcloths or hand sanitizers with you.
- Keep utensils, platters and food preparation surfaces clean when preparing food.
- Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter or outdoors. Do not reuse marinade.
- When cooking food, keep raw foods like meat away from ready-to-eat foods, such as fresh vegetables and salad.
- When meat is cooked, don't put it on the same plate that once held raw meat -- use a clean one. In addition, don't use the same utensil for handling raw and cooked meats.
- Grill partially cooked food immediately.
- Cook food thoroughly using a food thermometer.
- Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot (at or above 140 °F).
- To keep food cold, place directly on ice and replace ice frequently.
- Don't let perishable foods, like meat or potato salad, sit out in the heat for more than two hours. After such time, bacteria can begin to grow. If the day is especially hot, food should not sit out for more than one hour. Put your food back in the cooler as soon as you're done eating. Food that sits out for more than two hours at room temperature is not safe to eat. If in doubt, throw it out!
Do not sabotage the success of your barbeque or picnic. Take the necessary precautions to ensure you serve safe food to your family and friends.
- Keep cold food cold in an ice filled cooler at or below 40°F.
- Bring two coolers: one for food and one for drinks. Since you'll probably open the drinks cooler more often than the food cooler, this prevents warm air from reaching your perishables.
- Pack meat, poultry, and seafood while still frozen so they stay colder longer. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood securely wrapped and separate to prevent contaminating other foods.
- Rinse raw fruits and vegetables before packing them.
- Keep coolers in air-conditioned areas, rather than in a hot trunk.
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