It’s Time for Outdoor Celebrations!

We’re into the season when we celebrate milestones, like graduation, and Holidays, like 4th of July. And those summer celebrations usually mean eating food outdoors, maybe at a park, away from the conveniences of home.

We like these events to be fun and relaxed, but keeping food safe can be anything but carefree. Planning is the key to keep food safe and keeping food-borne illness at bay. There’s probably going to be children, as well as older family members at your celebration. These are the groups that are particularly susceptible to food borne illnesses and the chronic health conditions that can result.

First, keep your menu simple. Some foods are associated with food borne illness, like foods containing eggs, homemade ice cream, and poultry, and require special care. Keep hot foods hot. Cold foods cold and that requires lots of ice or ice packs. And make sure that your food is only served for a limited amount of time – like an hour. Don’t set up a buffet and leave it all afternoon for people to graze.

If grilling out, make arrangements to keep your meat on a good supply of ice until ready to barbecue. Pack your meat thermometer, because the color of meat is no indication that the meat is done. Cook hamburgers and hot dogs to an internal temperature of at least 160°F.

If you have leftovers, the best strategy would be to throw them out. But if they were kept well iced, they will be safe. But keep them iced for the drive home.

For more on safe outdoor eating visit, http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm109899.htm

For more information on grilling safety, go to
http://www.extension.org/pages/28090/safe-summer-grilling

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