While summer is a season of rejoicing and outdoor gatherings, one cannot forget about the increase in food poisoning cases that occur during this hot season.
Inappropriate outdoor food safety procedures are claimed to be the major cause of serious food poisoning scenarios.
Don’t be too sweet hearted to allow bacteria to enjoy a pleasant meal with you at the table. Follow these simple tips before packing your picnic basket to stay away from these organisms.
Carry moist towelettes or soap and water to keep your hands and your surrounding surfaces clean. Make sure that you have a clean cooler before starting your trip.
Isolate Raw Foods and Cooked Foods
- Segregate the utensils: keep one set of utensils and plates for handling raw foods and another set for cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.
- Marinate foods in the refrigerator.
- Never reuse marinade used on raw meat or poultry without boiling it.
- Carrying a clean cooler can prevent cross-contamination which might otherwise result in food poisoning.
Carry a Food Thermometer
- Carry a food thermometer to check on cooked poultry. Hamburgers should be cooked to at least 160°F and chicken breasts to 165°F. Comprehensive information on food thermometers is available at www.firsteatright.com.
- Confirm that poultry or meat is fully cooked before removing it from the grill.
Store below 40°F
- Perishables should always be stored inside a cooler whose temperature is maintained below 40°F using ice or ice packs.
- Store your cooler in the back seat of your car rather than storing it in your hot trunk.
- Use raw meat from the cooler as and when required. This will safeguard the raw meat from contamination.
- Leave food outside in hot weather (90°F or above) for not more than an hour.