How to keep food safe in summer
Picnics at the beach, BBQs in the park - no matter where you take your food, follow these food safety tips.
How long can that snag sit on the barbie? Can you still take home that cheese that's been sitting out for a while? Here are the answers to those questions so you can chomp with confidence and reduce food waste, plus tips for how to keep your foods safe when eating outdoors, courtesy of the Food Safety Information Council.
- Remember the simple rule for food safety; keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Put all perishable foods in a cooler when travelling.
- Don’t pack food for a picnic if it has just been cooked and is still warm. Coolers cannot cool food enough to prevent bacteria growing. Always cover pre-prepared foods securely and refrigerate overnight. Use ice packs to maintain food safe temperatures.
- Other perishable foods and drinks, such as deli products, cooked chicken and dairy products must also be cold when put in the cooler.
- Always pack plenty of frozen bricks or gel packs around the food. Frozen drinks thaw quickly in warm weather and serve as extra cool bricks. Wicker baskets, unless they are insulated, are best used for non-perishables and your other picnic needs.
- Avoid keeping perishables such as salads, quiches and cold meats out of the fridge for longer than 4 hours before eating. If you expect to return leftovers to the fridge, they should be left out for no more than 2 hours.
- Meat juices can easily leak onto pre-prepared foods, so pack with this in mind and put the meat in leak proof containers on the bottom of the cooler away from ready-to-eat food.
- Cut meat into serving-size pieces before leaving home and have all salads ready to eat. This reduces the need to handle foods, particularly when there are no hand-washing facilities.
- Use a clean plate and clean utensils for cooked meat. Never re-use the same ones you used for the raw meat without washing them.
- Carry disposable wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizers to clean hands and equipment.
- Don’t put food directly on picnic tables as they are not always clean. Cover with a tablecloth and use eco-friendly plates or trays.
- Remember sausages, hamburgers and poultry need to be cooked all the way through – use a meat thermometer to check they have reached 75°C in the centre. Intact steaks and whole pieces of red meat can be cooked to taste.
- It’s alright to leave cooked meat to remain warm on a corner of the BBQ or covered on a plate for late arrivals. Just ensure it is protected from flies and, as with cold perishables, avoid leaving it around for more than four hours (or two hours if there are leftovers to be put into the fridge).
This food safety information is courtesy of the Food Safety Information Council.
Keep outdoor gatherings COVID safe too by staying up to date with the latest rules on your local Government official website.