Summer Food Safety

Eating outdoors is one of the great pleasures of summer! It's the perfect time for barbecues, picnics and camping trips. However, fun outdoor meals can come with an increased risk of food poisoning without proper care. Keep your family safe with these outdoor food safety tips.

Store your food in a cooler with ice packs while on the go. Keep the cooler out of direct sunlight and the internal temperature at or below 4°C (39°F). Try using separate coolers for food and drinks so that food stays colder longer. Freeze water bottles or juice packs ahead to keep things extra chilled.

Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood separate from other foods in sealed containers or plastic bags to avoid leaks and spreading bacteria. Keep these at the bottom of the cooler as not to contaminate other foods.

Organize cooler contents
Consider packing beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in another. That way picnickers can open and reopen the beverage cooler to replenish their drinks without exposing perishable foods to warm outdoor air temperatures.

Wash your hands, the cooking utensils and cooking surfaces with hot soapy water (for at least 20 seconds).

Outdoor hand cleaning
If you don’t have access to running water, use a water jug, some soap and paper towels. Or, use moist disposable towelettes for cleaning hands. As a backup, bring hand sanitizer.

Bacteria are killed by heat. Meat, poultry and seafood must be cooked to a safe internal temperature to eliminate harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria. When cooking, use a digital thermometer and check the Government of Canada food safety website for the safe internal cooking temperatures for beef, poultry, pork, and other foods.

Rince and wash all your fruits and vegetables before packing them in your cooler.

Plate and store
Use a clean plate when taking food off the grill, not the ones used for uncooked meat. Keep several clean utensils, cutting boards and plates to prevent cross-contamination. Store and cool leftovers quickly. On hot summer days, don't keep food at room temperature for more than one hour.

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