Picnicking Precautions

Foods that are not cooked properly or are stored at the wrong temperatures can cause food-borne illness. Take these steps to maintain food safety on your picnic:

Regular handwashing is the most important step you—and all members of your picnic party—can take. Soap and hot water is best.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

If you’re cooking meats, always keep them away from all other foods. This includes cutting boards, plates and utensils used for cooking and/or serving. (The platter you use to take the uncooked meat to the grill should NOT be the same platter you use to serve the meats after they’re cooked, unless you’ve washed it thoroughly in between.)

Use a meat thermometer, if you're grilling to make sure that meat is cooked thoroughly (160 degrees F for ground beef and 165 degrees F for poultry).

Keep foods covered to prevent contamination by insects.

When dinner is finished, return foods to the cooler rather than letting them sit out. Replenish ice if necessary. To check to see if ice is still cold, toss a few cubes down the back of your teenage son’s shirt.