A picnic can be big fun. However, improper handling of the food can mean big trouble, in the form of foodborne germs.
Before you fill your cooler, check out these four tips for safer picnics.
Picnic tip No. 1: When you open the cooler, keep an eye on the clock.
“The general rule is to have food out only two hours,” dietitian Kate Zeratsky says. “However, on a hot day — 90 (degrees Fahrenheit) and above — you want to limit the time that food is out in that hot weather to one hour.”
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She also says: “You might even consider a bowl of ice. And, then, set your food container in that ice. That can help maintain a cool temperature.”
2: Pay special attention to proteins.
“Bacteria like protein,” Zeratsky says.
So keep meat cold until it hits the grill. Then, use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s cooked to a safe temperature. At least 160 degrees for ground meat and 165 for poultry.
3: Shield your sweets, including the ones from Mother Nature.
“Fruit, with its natural sugars, is going to attract some bugs,” Zeratsky says. “So you might want to keep it covered.”
4: Better to be safe than sorry.
“When in doubt, throw it out. You don’t want anyone to get sick.”