Picnic Safety

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picnicPacking a picnic is quintessential summer. As a child, every Sunday in the summer my parents would get up early and pack a feast in the cooler so we could enjoy eating alfresco. We would then drive to a local park where we would spend the day swimming, playing badminton, lounging in the shade and eating the wonderful lunch that had been prepared. Today, I have continued the tradition with my own family. Packing a picnic and heading outdoors for the day is one of my kids’ favorite things to do!

First thing to preparing a picnic is planning and organization. Once you get your picnic tote organized, packing up for your next outdoor trip will be easy. Keep a tub handy with the essential tools and you can pull a picnic basket together in no time. Unfortunately, nothing can ruin a picnic faster than food gone bad and spoiled food is not always detectable, and the side effects might not show up until a day or two later. Here are a few picnic safety tips to keep everyone well and your picnic enjoyable and memorable.

• Be sure to keep cold food cold. Store food in a cooler at 40 F and pack it with frozen gel packs and or ice. Frozen foods in closed containers will also keep things cold.

• Pack your beverages in a separate cooler. This way, reaching for steady refills won’t affect perishable foods.

• Store raw products in tightly closed containers.You don’t want raw meat or seafood contaminating other foods.

• Make sure your tables, grill, and hands are clean. If unsure about clean running water, bring a jug with soapy water and paper towels.

• Marinate foods in your refrigerator, never at the picnic site. And never reuse marinade or containers that previously held raw food.

• Keep cold foods cold, hot foods hot:
– Store cold food at 40 F or less until serving time.
– Serve hot food at or above 140 F.
– It’s best not to leave either out for longer than 2 hours.
– If the outdoor temperature is 90 F or higher, discard leftovers after 1 hour.

But most of all, enjoy your picnic!

Watch for picnic meal suggestions on this blog soon.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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February 2023