The only thing that can spoil a picnic more than rain is spoilage in another area: the food! You might be so concerned about mastering your mom’s potato salad recipe that you forget to properly protect it from the hot sun, and that will put quite a damper on your fun day outdoors. Follow these safety tips for properly storing and serving picnic food:
- Keep cold foods cold. This may seem obvious, but you’ll need to thoroughly line a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs to ensure that your food stays cold even as the temperatures rise. This includes things like creamy salads, meats, and cheeses.
- Use a thermometer. Perishable foods should be stored at a temperature of 40°F or below, so use a thermometer to make sure that you maintain that temperature all day long.
- Keep the cooler closed. Store water and soft drinks in a separate cooler from the perishable food to minimize the how often the cooler is opened throughout the day.
- Prevent cross-contamination. If you’re grilling meats at your picnic, be sure to thoroughly wrap them in plastic wrap or store them in plastic containers. Always wash your hands after handling raw meat, and don’t let meats touch fruit, veggies, or other foods.
Eating Outdoors, Handling Food Safely [FDA]
Perfect Food Safe Picnics! [FoodSafety.gov]
Picnic Food Kids Will Love: Pack A Safe & Healthy Basket [Parents]