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July is Picnic Month! Try These Tips for a Safe Picnic

Before you pack up the picnic basket and cooler, remember these simple tips to ensure that unwanted bacteria won't have a place at your table.

The sunny days of summer bring hot temperatures and outdoor gatherings. This also is a time of increased risk of food poisoning.

So, before you pack up the picnic basket and cooler, remember these simple tips to ensure that unwanted bacteria won't have a place at your table.

Before You Head Out

  • Bring moist towelettes or soap and water to clean your hands and surfaces often.
  • Bring extra plates: one for handling raw foods and another for cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Pack food in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or ice packs to keep temperature below 40 F.
  • Keep raw meats, poultry, seafood, eggs and ready-to-eat foods separate.
  • Transport the cooler in the back seat of your air-conditioned car instead of in your hot trunk.
  • Defrost meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator before packing them in a cooler and taking them to the grill.
  • Don't leave food outside in hot weather (90 F or above) for more than one hour.

While There

  • Cook your favorite foods to the right temperature by measuring the internal temperature using a food thermometer; cook hamburgers to at least 160 F and chicken breasts to 165 F.
  • Remove from the cooler only the amount of raw meat that will fit on the grill.
  • Never partially grill meat or poultry to finish cooking later.
  • Melted ice is a sign that your food is no longer safe and you need to toss all leftovers.
  • Don't leave food outside in hot weather (90 F or above) for more than one hour.

After the Fun is Done

  • At the end of the picnic or as soon as you return home, clean your cooler with water and a mild detergent and rinse thoroughly. Then be sure to wipe it completely dry before storing it.
  • If lingering odors are an issue, a quick wipe with a vanilla extract-soaked paper towel can freshen the cooler.
  • Finally, if your cooler has a drain plug, make sure it's open to prevent moisture from accumulating during storage.

Hungry for more tips? Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable to learn more about “The Family Table” so you can eat, connect and stay safe at the family table. Join the challenges and sign up for an electronic newsletter with recipes and tips. Follow the program on Facebook for more tips, meal plans and ideas for getting conversations going during family mealtime.

 

By: Brittany Twiss, Program Assistant

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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