Summer Picnic Food Safety
Now that summer is here, more of us will be dining outside and preparing picnic food. This is a time when food poisoning can increase due to leaving hazardous foods out on the picnic table in the hot sun therefore allowing bacteria to grow. Picnic foods including potato salad need to be kept cold constantly. Bacteria such as Staphylococcus can multiply rapidly on salad sitting out for hours in the Danger Zone. The best practice is to keep all salads cold, serve immediately, and then place back in the cooler. After purchasing foods at the supermarket or grocery store, you can place the frozen or cold foods inside a cooler which contains ice packs or ice gels. These foods will stay cold instead of warming up when placed in a hot car. Raw foods such as hamburger meat should be double wrapped and placed in the cooler as well so as not to leak on other foods. Raw meat juices or blood can easily cross-contaminate. If using paper plates and other single-service utensils at the picnic, remember to recycle where possible. Picnics are one of the best things about summer. Keep your picnic foods stored safely at the correct temperature and the risk of foodborne illness will be reduced.