Food Safety Tips for a Perfect Summer Picnic
June 5, 2018
It's finally picnic season, and if you have outdoor feasts in your future, there are a few things you should know. In order to pull off a picnic that's both tasty and sanitary, heed these food safety tips.
- Keep your cart organized. Food safety actually begins at the grocery store. As you fill your cart, keep foodborne illnesses in mind. Quarantine your raw meat, seafood, and eggs in a separate part of the cart, preferably in individual plastic bags. Make sure that anything you eat raw (e.g., fruits and veggies) never come into contact with these high-risk foods.
- Avoid kitchen cross-contamination. Cross-contamination can happen in the shopping cart or in your own kitchen. When you're preparing or packing up raw meat to grill, make sure that you wash your hands frequently and never place it on the same surface as anything that's not getting cooked. You may even want to dedicate one cutting board solely to raw meats and seafood and another to fresh produce.
- Wash fruits and veggies. Although produce doesn't possess the same potential for spreading foodborne illnesses as raw meats, it does often bear bits of dirt or pesticides. So wash it with clean water before you slice it up and serve it. No need to add any special produce soaps—water is just as effective at getting rid of pesticides.
- Chill and cook everything adequately. Another potential source of problems when you picnic is neglecting to keep cold foods cold. From potato salad to uncooked burgers, all perishables should be stowed in a cooler kept at 40 degrees or cooler. When you grill up your meats, cook beef, pork, and lamb to at least 145 degrees, ground meats to 160 degrees, and poultry of any type to 165 degrees as measured by a meat thermometer. Don't let any cold foods sit out in the hot sun for more than an hour, either, before tucking them back into the cooler.