4 Tips for Keeping Picnic Food Safe
Keep it Chilled
First, keep foods that are meant to be cold as cold as you can. If you have cooked meats, salads, dressings and items that came from the fridge, keep them as cold as you can for as long as you can.
Keep it Hot
Second, if it is supposed to be hot, keep it hot; it’s the same idea as the first tip. Food should never be kept lukewarm for any length of time, always aim for under an hour. It may be a pain to carry two smaller coolers but one for hot food and one for cold food is really the best choice.
Keep it Separate
Third, keep raw items separate from cooked ones, especially meats. This is critical if you are cooking burgers, sausages or other ground meats. Ideally, these should be transported separately but that’s not always practical. Keep items as separate as possible and as cold as possible until they hit the grill.
Keep it Clean
The last rule is about clean up. While we know that single use cutlery, plates and zip top bags are not the most environmentally-friendly choice they are the safest and fastest from a food safety perspective. Dispose of them properly when you are finished and the danger ends there.
If you are using Tupperware or other LocTop style containers, (either glass or plastic) however, be sure to rinse them thoroughly and then close them tight to transport home. Be sure to wash the containers immediately after you get home, preferably in the dishwasher. If you are using a cooler or other carrying bag, be sure to rinse it out with soapy water and give it a quick clean with anti-bacterial wipes to ensure you’re good to go for next time.
Food safety is no accident; it takes vigilance and common sense. Having suffered from the effects of salmonella and know it's always better to be safe than sorry.
As always, your comments below are welcome.