Planning an outdoor event to watch the eclipse? While preparing for being outdoors – and the heat – also plan ahead for food safety. While packing your food, remember to pack at least 2 cold sources to help your food stay safe throughout the whole day. Frozen fruits and water bottles work perfectly!
Plan ahead when going outdoors to eat. Take along only the amount of food that can be eaten to avoid having leftovers. If grilling, make sure local ordinances allow it. Coolers should be covered with blankets, or in the shade of a umbrella. Bring along moist towelettes for cleaning hands.
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Why Food Safety Care Increases During Summer
Due to a variety of factors, including warmer temperatures, foodborne illness increases in summer. Stay healthy and safe during warmer months by following these food safety recommendations:
- Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs. Frozen food can also be used as a cold source.
- Foods that need to be kept cold include raw meat, poultry, and seafood; deli and luncheon meats or sandwiches; summer salads (tuna, chicken, egg, pasta, or seafood); cut up fruit and vegetables; and perishable dairy products.
- A full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than a partially filled one. When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter.
- Avoid opening the cooler repeatedly so that your food stays colder longer.
The 2hr Rule: Keep Food out of the “Danger Zone” (40°F – 140°F)
Bacteria grows rapidly between the temperatures of 40° F and 140° F. After food is safely cooked, hot food must be kept hot at 140° F or warmer to prevent bacterial growth.
- Perishable food should not sit out for more than two hours. Within 2 hours of cooking food or after it is removed from an appliance keeping it warm, leftovers must be refrigerated. Throw away all perishable foods that have been left in room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is over 90° F, such as at an outdoor picnic during summer).
- Serve cold food in small portions, and keep the rest in the cooler. After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served – at 140 °F or warmer.
- Keep hot food hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly.