Food Safety at Outdoor Picnics

Food Safety at Outdoor Picnics

Cooking for our families and friends can be a memorable and rewarding experience but you also want to know the best ways to prepare food to prevent your guests from getting sick.

Help to keep your outdoor summer picnics fun and safe by avoiding these common food-safety mistakes.

Foodsafety.gov lists these do’s and don’ts to help keep your food safe:

Do:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before handing, preparing or serving food!
  • Wash your hands after handling raw meat, eggs and fish.
  • Keep ready-to-eat and cooked foods separate from each other.
  • Always refrigerate food within two hours of cooking or eating.
  • Thoroughly clean kitchen and food preparation surfaces.
  • Make sure meat, eggs, seafood or poultry are thoroughly cooked by using a food thermometer to check the temperature.

Food & Proper Internal  Cooking Temperature (°F)

  • Ground Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb = 160°F
  • Turkey, Chicken = 165°F
  • Steaks, roasts, chops = 145°F
  • Chicken & Turkey = 165°F
  • Fresh pork = 145°F
  • Precooked ham (to reheat) = 140°F
  • Eggs = Cook until yolk and white are firm
  • Egg dishes = 160°F
  • Leftovers = 165°F
  • Casseroles = 165°F
  • Fin Fish = 145°F or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork
  • Shrimp, lobster, and crabs = Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque
  • Clams, oysters, and mussels = Cook until shells open during cooking
  • Scallops = Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm.

Don’t:

  • Never taste food to see if it's still good, because you may not be able to taste or smell germs. Instead, throw food out after it expires.
  • Never put cooked meat on the same plate you used for raw meat.
  • Do not allow dishes or utensils that were used for raw food to touch cooked food.
  • Never thaw food on the counter. Instead thaw in the refrigerator, microwave or cold water.
  • Don't wash meat, poultry or eggs. Doing so may spread harmful bacteria. 
  • Don't eat foods at higher risk for salmonella contamination, such as undercooked eggs, raw eggs, or products that contain raw egg, such as cookie dough, undercooked meat or poultry, or unpasteurized milk.

Learn more tips to prevent food poisoning or salmonella.