Posted by J.W.
A lot of food safety rules weren't around when our great-grandmothers were planning their summer picnics, but after having worked almost 6 years in various aspects of food service, keeping food safe is important to me, especially as the temperature climbs!!! Here's a quick refresher for the most important ways to keep everyone healthy this Fourth of July weekend.
* Use one cutting board for meat, and one for vegetables or fruit.
* Put your cooked grill items down on a fresh, clean plate(remember, that juice on the raw meat plate has a lot of bacteria)!
Keep Hot Foods Hot, and Cold Foods Cold
*The rule of thumb in food service is 40/140. That means keep cold food below 40F, and hot food above 140F. Some bacteria can double in less then a half hour in the temperature area between. If in doubt, stick a meat thermometer in the middle of the food to keep close tabs, particularly with something that contains eggs, like potato salad.
*It's generally safe to have food out indoors for 2 hours, or outside for one hour(particularly if lots of people have been handling it).
* If in doubt, PLEASE throw it out! Any off-smells or colors, or food that no one is sure exactly how long it's been out in the sun. It's far better to be safe then sorry, especially if you have small children or elderly individuals around.
Pack To Keep Clean
*If your going someplace with no access to hot water, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer are great!
*Remember to pack bags for trash, and clean containers for cooked food or leftovers.
*Always pack two sets of grilling utensils--one to put the meat on the grill and flip it, and the other to remove finished items.
For additional picnic tips, check out these great resources:
What's Cooking America Picnic Tips
Home Food Safety Picnic Tips
Having a Safe BBQ
Don't forget my link to the official FDA guidelines in the sidebar, too! Have a great 4th, everyone!