Practice Food Safety during Picnics

Picnics are part of the fun of summertime, but thousands of people become ill every year from picnic food that’s not safely prepared or stored. Here are some tips for making sure you have a safe picnic in the park:

• Always wash your hands thoroughly—before you prepare food and after you handle raw meats.

• Clean your food. You don’t know where fruits and veggies have been.

• Wrap all foods. Keep the foods separate so drippings don’t contaminate each other.

• Keep food chilled. Don’t take cold foods out of the fridge until it’s time to go. Pack them in a cooler as soon as you take them out of the fridge.

• Keep coolers under a tree. When you’re packing the car, try keeping the cooler inside the car, rather than in a hot trunk.

• Try to plan just the right amount of food to take. Then you won’t have to worry about the storage or safety of leftovers.

• Use a separate cooler for drinks, so the one containing perishable food won’t be constantly opened and closed.

• Put leftover foods in the cooler promptly after grilling or serving. Any left outside for more than an hour should be discarded. If there is still ice in the cooler when you get home, the leftovers are okay to eat.

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