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Food Safety Tips

Summer is prime time for memorable picnics and cookouts with friends and family. But the last thing you want to bring home from these fun-filled outings is food poisoning, so follow these precautions.

When packing the cooler or picnic basket, wrap raw meat, poultry and fish separately from cooked foods in airtight plastic containers or resealable plastic bags.

It's a good idea to have two sets of cutting boards, grilling utensils and platters-one for uncooked foods and one for cooked items.

Pack a meat thermometer to ensure you're grilling meat and poultry to the proper temperature.

Prevent the spread of bacteria by washing fruits and vegetables before putting in the basket or cooler.

Pack clean foil, plastic wrap and resealable plastic bags to store leftovers.

If you won't have access to soap and water at the picnic, bring along moist towelettes, antibacterial soap that doesn't require water or a spray bottle with soapy water.

Hot foods should be eaten within 2 hours of being made.

Remove foods from the cooler just before cooking or serving.

Food should not stand out longer than 2 hours. (On days above 85°, 1 hour is the maximum.) Promptly store hot and cold leftovers in an ice-filled cooler. If no ice remains in the cooler when you get home, play it safe and discard the food.

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