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 degrees, 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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