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Picnic Food Safety

Posted: June 4, 2014

Picnics are a popular summertime event and foodborne illnesses are more prevalent in the summer months because temperatures are higher and allow bacteria to grow faster.

Here are tips to keep your food safe:

  1. Keep perishable foods cool by keeping them in an insulated cooler with ice or frozen gel packs.  Open the cooler as little as possible.
  2. Keep raw foods separated from cooked foods or foods intended to be eaten raw.
  3. If temperatures are above 90°F, throw away foods after one hour.
  4. Bacteria are found on the surface of larger cuts of meat, do not pierce meats with a fork or knife to avoid the spread of bacteria.
  5. Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat, poultry and seafood.
  6. Limit the amount of perishable foods at the picnic: potato chips instead of potato salad; washed, whole fruit instead of fruit salad; cookies or brownies instead of a cream-filled pie.
  7. Wash the surface of melons before slicing them.  Be sure to slice melons on clean surfaces with clean knives.
  8. Pack disposable towelettes in case there are no facilities to wash your hands.
Food Temperature
Ground Meat 160°F
Fresh Beef 145°F
Poultry 165°F
Pork and Ham 160°F
Fin Fish 145°F

Source: University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension Lancaster County and Washington State University