Now that summer is here you might find yourself receiving invitations to gatherings with friends and family. One important thing to remember is that with warmer temperatures comes more risk for foodborne illnesses. Being diligent with preparing, serving, and storing foods can prevent any potential reactions.

Some rule of thumb things to remember when picnicking or traveling with food are:

  • Freeze what you can. Packing frozen foods into cooler bags and allowing them to defrost slowly can keep temperatures of potentially hazardous foods under 40° F.
  • Always pack cold items in cooler bags with ample amounts of freezer packs or ice.
  • Bring extra bowls for “ice baths” for foods that can be potentially hazardous, like mixed salads, condiments like mayonnaise, and fruit salads.
  • Cook or grill foods to safe internal temperatures. Be sure to check temps before serving protein-containing foods.
  • Do not take leftovers. After the food has been outside for an extended period, it is best to discard anything leftover. Transporting and eating leftovers after the picnic or party can lead to a potentially hazardous situation.
  • Label mixed foods to prevent any forms of food allergy situations.
  • Wash hands regularly during food preparation and before eating. If there is nowhere to wash your hands, bring along antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer to keep your hands germ-free.

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