While barbeques and picnics are great ways to enjoy the outdoors, warmer weather means that bacteria can grow more quickly. So, it’s critical to prepare, serve and store foods with extra care!
- Although the heat from cooking kills bacteria effectively, ambient temperatures rising above 40 degrees F (8 degrees C) actually stimulate further growth of bacteria- and the warmer the weather, the faster the bacteria can multiply
- Keep track of the good that have been served. Wrap and refrigerate anything that is not consumed within the first hour- particularly foods make with milk, eggs, mayonnaise, cheese, fish, meat, poultry, etc.
- It’s okay to put warm foods directly into a cooler or the refrigerator, as long as they aren’t so large or dense that the size inhibits cooling at the core. In cases when it’s impractical to reduce the size of the food portion (such as soups, roasts etc.) place the container in a tub of ice or a sink full of cold water to help lower the temperature quickly prior to refrigerating, thereby reducing the risk of bacteria growth
- When packing for picnics, keep containers of consumables (e.g. soda cans) away from raw food. Wrap raw food separately and pack at the bottom of the cooler, with ice packs on top. Remember that a full cooler stays cold longer. If you are driving, do not pack your cooler of food in the trunk- it gets too hot back there. Also, be sure to bring hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial wipes.