Having a cookout or picnic with your family when the weather is nice is one of the great perks of summer. However, understanding how to handle, prepare and store your foods is very important when it comes to making sure that you and your family are consuming meals that are safe.
Take a look below at some of the summer food handling tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
- Store your food in a cool place. Food should be kept in a cooler that is chilled with ice or frozen gel packs. The temperature inside of the cooler should be kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature inside gets warmer, it becomes more likely that the food will start to spoil. You should also do your best to make sure the cooler door is kept closed.
- Be sure you aren’t cross-contaminating your foods. Keep beef, poultry, seafood, produce, and dairy products separated from each other. It’s a smart idea to make sure each item is securely wrapped so that juices or other fluids do not drip into or on anything else.
- Always clean fruit and vegetables. Regardless of whether you plan on using your produce in another dish, cooking it on the grill or simply just eating it raw, be sure that you thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables to remove any dirt.
- Cook your food thoroughly. It is recommended that you use a meat thermometer to make sure that your chicken, steaks, hamburgers and bratwursts are cooked all the way through. The thermometer should be placed in the middle of the meat, or in the thickest part. Check the temperature. On the meat packaging, there should be guidelines as to what the temperature should be for the item. If it hasn’t reached the right temperature yet, keep cooking.
- Use clean plates and utensils. While it may be difficult to make sure that your eating area is spotless when you are having a picnic or cookout outside your home, do your best to make sure the plates and utensils you are using are clean.
These tips will help you to have a healthy and safe cookout or picnic with your family.