Summer time has come again and this means only one thing—fun, fun, fun! For sure, kids and parents are thrilled to finally have the time to spend just to enjoy themselves and the company of others. Summer also spells road trips and visit to mountain rest houses, camps and picnics by the beach.
Where ever you go, or whatever activity you’re planning for the family—one thing that will always find a place in the car along with your personal effects is food. What will then determine the success of one’s outdoor summer fun is food safety—it’s great if the food is good, but it’s even better if nobody gets sick from it.
Input from the FSIS on Food Safety
Gwen Hyland, technical information specialist from the FSIS Food Safety Education Staff, says that there are two main reasons that increase the spread of foodborne illnesses during summer: people and natural causes.
“Natural causes like bacteria multiply faster in warmer months especially in temperatures between ninety and one hundred ten degrees Fahrenheit,” she said in a podcast segment titled Food Safety at Home with Kathy Bernard of the Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Given the right conditions, harmful bacteria can multiply quickly on the food. “Someone can get sick from eating this food,” she said. On the other hand, people tend to mishandle or miscook food outdoors, missing the safety net that a kitchen provides.
Tips on Food Safety
Without proper food safety training or food safety knowledge, you could be putting yours and the lives of your family at risk. Here are a few hints on how to keep food safe when heading to an outdoor destination with the family:
1. Plan Ahead. Make sure to bring big coolers when traveling with perishable food (cooked or raw). Pack drinks in another cooler if you’re bring them.
2. Pack your food properly. Store perishable meat and produce straight from the fridge to the cooler. Avoid cross-contamination by double-packing raw meat in foil or plastic wraps and by separating raw foods from cooked ones. Fill the cooler with packed food; if this isn’t possible, fill it to the brim with ice. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, keep the cooler and the other food in a shady spot and cover the cooler with a thick cloth or blanket.
3. Observe proper hygiene and sanitation. Wash your hands with warm soapy water. Do not reuse utensils, cutting boards and other cooking tools without washing them. Discard paper towels properly and do not reuse them for wiping your hands.
4. Discard leftovers. Remember that food should only be left at room temperatures in two hours (less than an hour if the temperature’s warmer at 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above). It’s wise to discard food that has been left out in the sun than to save it for later.
If you want to take your safety knowledge to the next level, then you opt to enroll in a food safety certification class. Learn2Serve is a premier provider of certification courses for food safety and preparation.