Posted in News on September 19, 2014
With Labor Day picnics and autumn tailgating season around the corner, there will be lots of opportunities for outdoor fun with family and friends. Remind consumers that even though they may not be eating at home, prevention of foodborne illness is still important. The following tips can help keep food safe from the refrigerator/freezer … all the way to the picnic table or stadium parking lot.
- Clean your produce. Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables (including those with skins or rinds that are not eaten) under running tap water before packing them in the cooler. For firm-skinned fruits and vegetables, rub (or scrub with a clean vegetable brush) under running tap water. Dry fruits and vegetables with a clean cloth towel or paper towel. Packaged fruits and vegetables that are labeled “ready-to-eat,” “washed,” or “triple washed” need not be re-washed.
- Organize cooler contents. Consider packing beverages in one cooler and perishable foods (that won’t be opened as often) in another. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood securely wrapped to keep juices from contaminating prepared/cooked foods or foods that will be eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables.
- Keep cold food cold. Place cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Cold food should be stored at 40°F or below to prevent bacterial growth. Meat, poultry, and seafood may be packed while still frozen so that they stay colder longer. Once at the picnic or tailgate site, try to limit the number of times the cooler is opened; this helps to keep the contents cold longer.