Summertime and picnics go hand-in-hand. Planning to bring a meal along on your next outdoor excursion? Keep in mind these safety tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
Keep Hot Foods Warm – Pack hot foods in insulated containers to protect against the formation of bacteria. Discard any leftovers that remain outside for longer than two hours.
Keep Salads Cold – Keep salads cold as long as possible. Discard salad leftovers that remain outside for longer than two hours, especially those that contain mayonnaise. (Consider, too, preparing salads that do not call for mayo at all.)
Pack a Food Thermometer – Grilling? Tote a thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperatures—burgers, at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and chicken breasts, 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Never partially grill meat or poultry beforehand.
Pre-Wash Produce – Wash raw fruits and veggies in cool tap water before packing them. (This includes melon, which may harbor contaminants on the rind.)
Take Care with Take-Out – Buy take-out meals ahead of time and refrigerate them before packing them.
Transport Food Safely – Pack perishables at the bottom of a cooler containing ice or frozen gel packs—and pack cold drinks in a separate cooler to lessen the amount of times the perishables cooler is opened.
Wash Hands Often – Pack a supply of moist towelettes. Clean hands before and after handling food.