Picnics are the way to go! However, foods can spoil easily and faster than you think in the hot summer outdoors, where bacteria tend to flourish. Some tips on how to keep your food and yourself healthy and safe.
- Keep all perishable food in the refrigerator or freezer at no more than 40°F prior to leaving on your trip. The last thing you should do before leaving on your trip is to pack up the foods, directly from the refrigerator and freezer, into the coolers. Keep the meat, poultry, and seafood frozen so that they stay colder longer.
- The best way to pack your cooler is to place the raw meat, poultry and seafood at the bottom of the cooler, wrapped in bags or in sealed containers, to avoid juices from spilling on other foods.
- Never place cooler in the trunk of a car since trunk temperatures can climb up to 150°F or higher on a hot summer day. Make sure to place coolers in an air-conditioned area of the car or van.
- Once at your picnic area, ensure that your coolers are kept in the shade at all times. Limit the amount of times that the cooler is being opened. It would be best to have two separate coolers, one for the drinks and snacks, and the second for the real food so that the one holding the food isn’t constantly being opened and closed, allowing the hot air into the cooler.
- Although it is very easy to forget, it is crucial that your hands are perfectly clean before handling any food. In addition, make sure to wipe down the whole eating area, especially if you will not be eating on a tablecloth.
- If you want to avoid food poisoning at all costs, than it is important that you follow the two hour rule. Never leave perishable foods unrefrigerated for more than two hours, especially in warmer temperatures.
- You are best off disposing all picnic leftovers since chances are that they were left out of the cooler for more than two hours. Refrigerated foods that have stayed in a cooler where the temperature has not reached over 40°F can more often than not be reused.