Picnics are a wonderful way to enjoy the great outdoors. However, if picnic foods are not handled safely, they can cause food borne illness resulting in being sick with flu like symptoms or even death. Here are a few summer time food safety tips.
- Always wash hands before preparing and eating food. If water is not available, use moist towelettes.
- Do not prepare foods more than one day ahead unless frozen.
- When preparing large amounts of hot food in advance, cool in several shallow containers.
- Mayonnaise-based foods need to be kept very cold.
- Wash the outside rind of watermelon, cantaloupe, and honey dew melons before cutting them. Keep slices cold.
- Keep cold food cold. Use lots of ice packs layered in the cooler.
- Transport the cooler in the passenger area of the car. The cars trunk can reach 150 degrees.
- Place the cooler covered with a blanket in the shade.
- Keep hot food hot. Use a crock pot or wrap the dish in towels and newspaper and place in a box. Use within an hour.
- Pack plenty of utensils/dishware or use disposable plates.Dont reuse dishes that had raw meat unless washed with hot soapy water.
- Do not let food sit out for more than one hour. Keep food in the cooler or keep it hot.
- Leftover picnic food that has been sitting out for more than one hour should be thrown away.
- Ice that has melted in the cooler will not keep food cold, throw away the food.
- Foods that do not need refrigeration that can be safely taken on a picnic are the following: peanut butter sandwiches, dried fruit, nuts, unpeeled fresh fruit, jelly sandwiches, cookies, and cakes, crackers or unopened of food such as meat, fish or fruit.
For more information, contact OSU Belmont County Extension, 695-1455.