National Picnic Month is upon us, and that means millions of people will be enjoying the beautiful summer weather with picnics in the sunshine. Unfortunately, some of those picnickers will receive some uninvited guests other than the ants. Microbes like E. coli, salmonella and listeria will quickly turn a picnic into a nightmare when they cause food poisoning. Celebrate National Picnic Month by being completely safe with your food handling. Follow this guide to food safety to ensure your picnic doesn’t end up making someone sick.
Clean Hands, Utensils and Surfaces
The first step in food safety is to make sure everything that touches the food is completely sanitary. Wash your hands thoroughly before you handle food. Clean the utensils and prep surfaces carefully. Bleach is a good option to kill every microbe on your countertops and cutting boards. Starting off with a completely clean environment to prepare it helps keep the food you bring on your picnic sanitary.
Separate Raw and Cooked Foods
One of the most important rules in food preparations is to always keep raw and cooked foods separated. Never cut cooked and raw food with the same knife or on the same cutting board. You want to make sure to put your raw and cooked foods in separate containers for transportation to the picnic.
If you are bringing uncooked meat or fish to grill at your picnic, make sure to put it in sealed containers at the bottom of your picnic basket. That will ensure the fish and meat juice doesn’t drip on your other food if the containers become unsealed during transport.
Use a Thermometer
To ensures no one gets sick from undercooked food harboring bacteria, you need to use a thermometer when you are cooking. Sticking a meat thermometer into your items is the best way to tell when they are done. Keeping a close eye on the temperature will allow you to cook your meat and fish the optimum amount of time to keep it juicy and safe to eat.
Keep Things Chilled
Just as it is important to cook hot food to the right temperature to keep it safe, it is also important to chill cold food properly to prevent it from spoiling. You need to be especially careful with things like mayonnaise that can quickly go bad and lead to serious cases of food poisoning. Store your food in the refrigerator until you are ready to go on the picnic. It’s a smart idea to bring a cooler along to keep your food safely chilled while you are picnicking.
Perishable food items should be kept at chilled to at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you put enough ice or ice packs in your cooler to keep your food sufficiently chilled for the duration of the picnic. In the hot summer sun, using one of the wonderful new technologically-advanced coolers like those made by YETI is a smart idea. Bring two coolers to your picnic, one for drinks and one for food. This will prevent your food from warming up each time someone reaches for a thirst quencher.
Throw Away Food
Many people were raised to feel guilty about throwing away food, but sometimes it is the smart move. Any food at your picnic that has been outside for two hours or more needs to be thrown away. Don’t take a chance with your health because you feel guilty about wasting food. Food poisoning is no joke.
When you are in the food service industry, it is even more important to follow correct food handling procedures at all times. Whether you are a Texas food handler cooking in your restaurant or bringing food to a catered event, you need to know how to keep it safe. With the ANSI certified Learn2Serve Food Handler Training Course
, you will learn all the proper safety procedures for preparing and transporting food. Make sure that you always keep your food sanitary. Making someone sick is the last thing you want to do as a culinary professional. Come take this Texas food handler safety course to learn how to handle food the safe way.