October 16, 2018

Keep Picnic Food Out of the Danger Zone

Lots of folks like to have a picnic during the summer months and keeping food at safe temperatures is the key to making sure no one gets sick, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Picnic-Basket-2Cooking, storing and serving food at the proper temperature is key to food safety whether you are eating inside or out. Remember that food can spend a maximum of two hours in the “danger zone” of 40˚F to 140˚ F, or one hour if the outdoor temperatures are above 90° F.  In the danger zone,  bacteria such as Salmonella, E.coli and Listeria multiply rapidly elevating the risk of food poisoning.

If  you’re cooking food on the grill, use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to its proper temperature. Then keep it warm until serving by moving to the side of the grill, just away from the coals. At home, keep the cooked meat hot in a 200° F oven, chafing dish, slow cooker, or warming tray.

If you’re serving fresh produce or other perishable foods, keep them  chilled in a cooler with ice or gel packs at 40˚ F or lower. If you keep the perishable food in one cooler and beverages in another you can keep the food cooler closed until you are ready to cook or serve the food. When it’s time to serve, puts foods like chicken salad in bowls placed directly on ice. As the ice melts, drain off the water and replace tge ice frequently.

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