How to Avoid Food Poisoning at Picnics
By Lana Bandoim
The warm weather means picnic season is starting, but it brings new risks. Not only do you have to worry about ants taking over the picnic, food poisoning is also a problem. Consider the following food safety tips before the kids spend the weekend in the hospital because of spoiled meat.
Use the Right Coolers
Even if the picnic spot is a few feet away from the kitchen, it is still important to use coolers. The warm weather outside can spoil some things quickly. Put food that has to stay cool in containers with ice and monitor the temperature. It is important to keep the temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
Keep Things Separated
The raw meat should never be stored next to the soda cans in the coolers. As people grab the soda, they will constantly open the containers and expose the meat to higher temperatures. Keep food in separate coolers and storage boxes.
Clean Food at Home
It may not be possible to get access to clean water during a picnic. Wash produce and other items at home before packing them.
One of the reasons why picnics sometimes end in food poisoning is because of contamination. Raw meat has to be away from the salads. Even partially cooked meat should be separate from other dishes. In addition, use different utensils to handle raw food and cooked food.
Keep Some Food on Ice
Some items still need to be on ice despite being cooked completely. For example, bowls of chicken salad and potato salad should be in big, shallow containers filled with ice. Dairy products such as yogurt and ice cream should also stay surrounded by ice.
Use a Meat Thermometer
Most picnics require a grill, but they should also require a meat thermometer. Make sure to cook all meat and seafood to the right temperature.
Wash Everyone’s Hands
During a picnic, it may be hard to find a kitchen sink with soap. However, kids and adults may need to clean their hands before trying the grilled chicken and salads. Consider bringing an extra pitcher of water with soap and towels to wash everyone’s hands. Another option is to use hand sanitizers. If you have kids, you may need to bring extra items to keep them clean.
Enjoy the next picnic, but remember these food safety recommendations. The perfect day in the sun should not end with food poisoning and visits to the local hospital.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.