via Staver Law Group: With the weather warmer, many people are enjoying the outdoors by having outdoor parties and picnics. Picnics are great ways to bring together family, friends, and neighbors outdoors. However, food left outside can quickly get hot and cause food poisoning and other serious health issues. Read on to learn picnic safety tips to ensure your guests have fun – and stay free of food-related illnesses.
Heat can cause foods to develop bacteria. When ingested, these bacteria can cause salmonella and other diseases – some which can deadly. If you developed food poisoning after an outdoor gathering, you may have a potential lawsuit.
Keeping Your Food at Safe Temperatures
Don’t let a trip the emergency room ruin your outdoor gathering. Follow these 10 tips to keep foods – and your guests – safe.
1. Have plenty of water on hand. While you should have bottled water for drinking, it’s also a good idea to have water available to clean tables and other eating surfaces.
2. Wash hands often. Keeping hands clean cuts down on the risk of contamination. If no running water is handy, use hand sanitizer or moist towelettes to prevent cross-contamination.
3. Bring plenty of plates. Have one plate designated for raw foods and the other for cooked foods so you can prevent contamination.
4. Make sure meats are fully cooked. Hamburgers should be cooked to at least 160 degrees and chicken breasts to 165 degrees. Meats should be cooked enough so there is no pink.
5. Keep perishable items cold. Bring enough ice and gel packs to keep meat, eggs, and salads at 40 degrees.
6. Keep coolers in the car. When transporting food, keep it out of the trunk and inside an air-conditioned car. Once you reach your destination, keep coolers in the shade with the lid closed.
7. Pack your cooler full. Add as much food as possible, since a full cooler stays cold longer than one that is not full.
8. Follow the two-hour rule. Do not keep perishable food out for more than two hours. Place it back into the cooler or a refrigerator. If you’re in doubt, toss it out.
9. Exercise caution in hotter weather. If it is hotter than 90 degrees outside, do not leave food out for more than one hour.
10. Follow the rules for takeout foods. If you plan to use takeout foods at your picnic, be sure to eat them right away. Do not leave them out for longer than one hour.