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Safety Reminders: Planning for Family and Faith Community Events

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Many of us prepare food on a large scale from time to time. If you have a family event such as a family reunion at a picnic site in your future, here are a few ideas as you begin to make plans.

  • Choose someone or a committee to be in charge. Without someone in charge, important details can fall through the cracks. For example, what if no one brought any plates, forks or cups to the event?
  • Plan your menu accordingly. Do you need to keep food hot or cold for a while before you serve the food? How will you do that? Be sure that everyone bringing food is aware of food safety rules. On warm days (more than 90 degrees), perishable food should spend no more than one hour outside of temperature control.
  • Be sure you have the right equipment, especially if the event is not being held in someone’s home. You might need to bring cutting boards, utensils, cookware, shallow containers for storage, soap and paper towels.
  • When preparing and transporting food, avoid cross-contamination. Keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat food so meat juices do not contaminate fruits, vegetables, salads, pop cans or utensils.
  • Be sure that clean water is available, along with a cleanup plan for the picnic site.

You can learn more about food safety when cooking for groups at

On a smaller scale, check out the food picnic safety rules at

Source:  Julie Garden-Robinson, Prairie Fare, NDSU Extension Service;

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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