Labor Day Picnic Safety

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Labor Day is Monday, September 5th and with this summer send-off comes lots of picnics and outdoor festivities.

Though picnics are synonymous with fun, they’re also fair game for bacteria to multiply and foodborne illnesses to occur.

To be sure that you and your guests stay healthy and safe this weekend, we want to share with you some food safety tips to make sure that you handle your food safely and with care.

Keep your cool

The clock starts the minute you take your food out of the refrigerator or freezer.

If food is meant to be cold, it’s your job to keep it cold. When transporting food, make sure to place cold food in a cooler with ice or cool packs. It’s in good practice to keep cold foods stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Cooler space is likely at a premium when traveling to your picnic destination. Rather than packing all of your items into one cooler, consider breaking your items into more than one. For instance, place beverages in one and perishable foods in another. Odds are that if both items are in one cooler, people are going to continually be opening the lid and reaching in to grab a beverage, which exposes the perishable items to warm air.

Grilling safety

Your Labor Day picnic will likely involve grilling, as there’s nothing quite like grilled foods brushed and basted with your favorite sauces. That being said, grilling safety is imperative. Here are some helpful tips:

  • When marinating your foods, never let your food marinate while it’s on the kitchen counter. Rather, marinating should be done in the refrigerator. If you plan on using the marinade as a sauce, save some on the side. Never reuse a marinade that was mixed with raw meat.
  • Always bring a meat thermometer to make sure that foods are cooked to the correct temperature and are cooked all the way through.

The likelihood of cross-contamination is high when grilling. One way to avoid that from happening is to swap out your utensils and platters. The utensils and platters that you used to hold raw meat should not be used for the food when it’s cooked. This is because the utensils and platters will have the raw food’s juices and other bacteria on them. Instead, swap them out for a new set of utensils and platters to handle the cooked food.

Grilled Picnic Food

Dinner is served

Food safety requires a lot of common sense. As we said before, if a food is meant to be cold, keep it cold. If foods are meant to be warm, keep them warm.

Both cold and hot foods should not sit out for more than two hours. If left out for longer periods of time, the food can reach unsafe temperatures.

If you’re planning on serving chicken salad, potato salad or foods of that nature, put the serving dishes directly over ice. Keep an eye on the ice and replenish frequently.

If you’ll be serving hot food, make sure that it’s kept warm until you plan to serve. Hot foods should be kept at a temperature above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep these food safety tips in the back of your mind as you prepare for your holiday weekend.

From everyone at Jokari, we hope that you have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

Copyright Jokari/US, Inc., 2016

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