BLOGS from St. Anthony
By St. Anthony dietitian staff
Picnics and outdoor gatherings are becoming more popular as the weather warms up.
However, the risk for foodborne illness also increases. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 1 in 6 Americans get sick from a foodborne illness each year.
It is important to plan ahead and use these tips when planning your next picnic or gathering if food is involved to prevent foodborne illness.
1. WASH HANDS OFTEN
— Wash hands before and after handling food and also before consumption.
— Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
— If water is not available, pack some for handwashing. If you are unable to do so, have hand sanitizer and/or wipes available.
2. PACK COOLERS AND PREPARE FOOD CAREFULLY
— Always use an insulated cooler that is filled with ice, frozen gel packs, and/ or a frozen food source to help keep perishable foods cold. Keep the temperature of the cooler below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
— Foods that are perishable should be kept in a cooler and include but are not limited to: dairy products; raw meat/seafood/poultry; deli/luncheon meats; salads such as pasta, tuna, chicken, egg or seafood; cut-up fruit and vegetables.
— Place coolers in shaded, cooler areas and avoid opening the cooler more than necessary. — To help prevent cross contamination, pack ready-to-eat and raw foods separately and always use different utensils, cutting boards and plates when preparing and serving. Always place cooked food on clean plates and use clean utensils when serving.
— Always marinate food in the refrigerator. Discard the marinade and do not reuse it on any cooked item unless you boil it first.
3. COOK FOOD TO PROPER TEMPERATURES
— Color is not an indicator of readiness.
— Use a thermometer to take the temperature of the thickest part of the food item.
— Use the following guide for proper temperatures: 165 F (74 C) for any type of poultry (whole or ground); 160 F (71 C) for ground beef or pork; 145 F (63 C) for solid cuts of meat or fish (such as steaks).
4. SERVE/STORE FOOD PROPERLY
— In outdoor temperatures at or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, food should not be left out for more than one hour. No matter what the outdoor temperature is, perishable food should not be left out for more than two hours.
— Hold prepared meat and poultry at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.
— Hold cold foods at 40 degrees or below.
— Only take out a small amount food for serving at one time to avoid waste.