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Keeping Summer Foods Safe Outdoors

June 21, 2012
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If it's summer, chances are you -- and your food -- will be spending a lot of time outside. Here's how to keep your food from getting contaminated -- and you from getting sick.

At a Summer Picnic:

· Transport picnic foods in the passenger seat; your trunk can reach temperatures
of 150°F.

· Always make sure to keep all of the raw meats separate from the cooked foods. Pack them on the bottom of your coolers so the juice doesn't drip onto your produce.

· Keep foods in coolers or on ice whenever possible, and keep the coolers away from direct sun and insects. Use clean dishes and utensils to serve the foods (not the ones used for food prep).

· Pack plenty of moist towelettes or hand sanitizers, in case you're not near hand-washing facilities. Clean hands frequently during food prep and before serving.

At the Farmers' Market:

· Sample foods only from booths where there is evidence of clean hands at work. Look for gloves, hand-sanitizing gels, or even a bowl of clean water.

· If foods are being cut on site, separate knives should be used for meat and other foods, and they should be cleaned between uses.

· Don't eat samples that are clustered on a plate, allowing passers-by to pick up a piece. This is a breeding ground for cross-contamination, thanks to dirty hands. Only eat samples that have toothpicks in them.

· Wash before eating. Those grapes you eat on the way home may not be clean.

At a Barbecue:

· A common mistake is soaking raw meat, fish or poultry in marinade before grilling and then returning the cooked food to the same dish or using the soaking marinade for basting. Dispose of all soaking marinades after using.

· Keep an eye on how long food is sitting out on your BBQ buffet. It doesn't take long for food to spoil. If it's a hot summer day and you're outside, pack up or toss food after it's been out for one hour.

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