It's summertime, and the heat is on! This season is perfect for outdoor picnics and gatherings with your loved ones, but it's important to remember that warm weather can also lead to faster bacterial growth in food, which can cause foodborne illnesses. To ensure your safety and that of your companions, we've got you covered with some useful food safety tips.
Tip #1: Keep cold foods cold
Bringing extra cold sources is a must when serving food outdoors. Keep your food fresh and safe by packing your cooler with ice bags, gel packs, or even frozen water bottles. To make sure your food stays at the perfect temperature, place a thermometer in your cooler and ensure a temperature of 4°C or below is maintained.
Tip #2: Pack it Tight
Did you know that full coolers keep perishable foods colder for longer than half-full ones? So, before heading out, stock up your coolers with enough food to keep everything at a safe temperature throughout the day. If you have extra space in your cooler, fill it up with more ice. You can also pack foods when they are frozen to maintain a cold temperature for your snacks, even when it’s hot outside.
Tip #3: Open and Close it Quick!
When you're enjoying a beautiful day in the sun, there's nothing better than a refreshing cold drink. However, beverage coolers tend to be opened more frequently, which can cause the temperature inside to rise. To avoid this, store your drinks in a separate cooler from your perishable foods.
When it comes to snacks, only take out what you need at a time and keep the rest chilled for later. Also remember, never leave your cooler open for long periods of time! Every time you open it, you're letting warm air in and cool air out, which can compromise the safety of your food.
Tip #4: When in Doubt, Throw it Out
If your food has been out for a while, it may not be safe to repack and eat later. Don’t hesitate to throw away any food that has been left out in the sun for too long.