Safe Food For the Summer: Handling Food Safely When Eating Outdoors


Safe Food For the Summer: Handling Food Safely When Eating Outdoors

Thursday, July 04, 2019

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Summertime is upon us, and to beat this heat, many people will reach for that beach/picnic bag and cooler to head outdoors for a relaxing day with family and friends. However, we are not the only ones ready for the fun! This warm weather will also result in a proliferation of food-borne bacteria in our meals. So while getting igloos and food containers ready for the outdoors, it is important to protect family and friends from food-borne illnesses through the safe packaging, storage, transportation and serving of food this barbecue season. Here are a few tips to get you ready.

1Remember to keep cold foods cold (40F/4C or below) — Ensure you maintain the temperature of cold foods by travelling with adequate ice in your cooler or even investing in some ice packs. One important tip is to make sure your meat for grilling is frozen from the night before. This way it will stay colder for longer.

2Separate and organise — If it's possible, try to pack beverages in one cooler and your perishable items in another. Try to avoid packing items in the same container, to prevent the frequent temperature drops brought about by repeated opening and closing of the cooler. Additionally, you want to ensure that raw meat and poultry are wrapped or packaged in sealed bags or containers to prevent cross-contamination with already prepared foods and fruits/veggies.

3 Keep those coolers shut tight — I know we are tempted to overload coolers with food, with the expectation that once there is enough ice it will be kept cool. However, we want to ensure contents are kept cooler for longer — especially if meat or poultry to be grilled is being stored. Try to also limit the amount of times you open the cooler. If possible, once you're travelling with raw meat/poultry, bring that handy dandy thermometer.

4 Bring adequate potable water — While we must ensure we wash fresh fruits and vegetables before packing them in the cooler we must always travel with, or ensure we have access to, potable water on our trips; just in case we need to wash again. We may also need potable water to wash hands, utensils and serving dishes if disposables aren't being used.

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