Picnic Food Safety
Picnics are a favorite part of summer for many. Whether gathering on the beach, the boat or your own back yard, food safety is a must. There are a few key things to keep in mind. The first is proper storage of the food. Keep cold foods cold at 4 degrees Celsius. If you are taking a cooler this will be a bit tough. Pack your cold foods with a block of ice and try not to open and close this cooler. Have drinks in a separate cooler with easy access. The second thing to consider is the amount of time foods are kept out of the cooler. Don’t leave food out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. At your beach picnic try to serve everyone at once and then put the food away rather than leaving it out on the picnic table. At parties, serve half the potato salad or vegetable dip and then replace it with a fresh bowl from the fridge 2 hours later. Finally, when the party or picnic is over don’t save the leftovers for another day, just discard them to reduce the chance of illness.
There are some obvious foods that need specific attention to food safety. Here are some alternatives to these foods for your next picnic:
Salads with creamy dressing using mayonnaise (potato salad) – try oil and vinegar dressings with grainy mustard
Meats in a salad – try nuts and fruit
Hot dogs – try turkey sausages
Chicken sandwiches – try hummus and pita or peanut butter and banana wraps
Spinach dip – try a cheese plate with olives and roasted peppers
Raw veggies with Ranch Dipping sauce – try raw veggies and salsa
Cheese cake or cream filled pastries – try fruit salad and jello or sponge cake with berries
Milk to drink – try water or sparkling water
Consider bringing some foods frozen so that by the time you are ready to eat them they are thawed such as fresh shrimp or tuna sandwiches.
Add your salad dressing just before you serve the salad and keep the dressing in the cooler beside the ice block.