Safe Eating Tips for Picnics and Cook-Outs This Memorial Day
is the kick off to summer festivities. The long weekend usually is
filled with outdoor activities including parties, picnics and
barbeques. To maintain the same food safety practices you use in your
kitchen when eating at outdoor events, the National Food Processors
Association offers the following tips:
- Plan just the right amount of foods to take so you won’t have to worry about the storage or safety of leftovers.
- Plan the
menu with an eye to safe food handling. Do not use recipes that contain
raw eggs, such as cream pies or homemade ice cream.
- Since hand
washing is critical to prevent the spread of bacteria, choose a picnic
location with facilities for washing. If no facilities are available,
pack disposable towelettes.
foods in plenty of time to thoroughly chill them in the refrigerator.
Then use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep
the food at 40 degrees Fahreinheit. Pack food directly from the
refrigerator into your cooler. Make sure you read and follow label
instructions to “keep refrigerated” or “use by”
a certain date.
you’re planning on eating take-out foods such as fried chicken,
eat them within two hours of pick up, or buy ahead of time and chill
before putting into the cooler.
put the cooler in the trunk; carry it inside the air-conditioned car.
Use a separate cooler for drinks so the one containing perishable food
won’t be constantly opened or closed. At the picnic, keep the
cooler in the shade, and replenish the ice if it melts.
marinating raw meat, fish or poultry, do so in the refrigerator —
not on the counter. Don’t reuse the marinade from raw meat unless
you boil it for several minutes to destroy any bacteria from the raw
- For safety
and quality, the coals in your grill should be very hot before cooking
food. For optimal heat, let the coals heat for 20 to 30 minutes or
until they are gray.
- When handling raw meat, remove from the cooler only the amount that will fit on the grill.
- Do not
interrupt cooking, as partial cooking may encourage bacterial growth.
If you must cook ahead, cook the meat completely and then cool it fast
for reheating on the grill later. Reheat pre-cooked meats until
- Do not
partially grill extra hamburgers to use later. Once you begin cooking
hamburgers, cook them until completely done to assure that bacteria are
always a good idea to take an “exploratory” cut into
patties, poultry, meat or fish to check doneness. On the grill, the
outside of foods may look done before they are cooked through. To be
sure bacteria are destroyed, cook hamburgers to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a meat thermometer to check the inner temperature of the food. Cut
into the pattie to be sure the center is no longer pink and the juices
run clear. Grill raw poultry until the juices run clear and there is no
pink close to the bone. And make sure to cook all ready-to-eat-meats
taking foods off the grill, do not put the cooked items on the same
platter which held the raw meat. That can cause cross contamination
where the cooked food picks up harmful microorganisms left on the plate
from the raw meat. Use separate, clean utensils and wash your hands
- Perishable leftovers should be refrigerated or stored on ice within two hours of cooking.
- For the
return trip, the cooler should again travel in the air-conditioned part
of the car. Check the cooler when you get home. If there still is ice
in the cooler and the food is refrigerator-cool to the touch, the
leftovers should be safe to eat.
For more information visit, http://www.safefood.com.