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Tips to keep picnics safe
Safe picnic

Tips to keep picnics safe

Monday, May 9, 2022


Having backyard cookouts with friends and family is what makes summer fun, but don't forget about handling your food safely to avoid foodborne illness.  

Check out these simple guidelines to ensure food safety when outdoors. 


Tip 1: Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. 

It's as simple as it sounds. Keep food out of the "Danger Zone" (40 to 140 degrees), where foods can spoil quickly. Keep hot foods in warming trays or to the side of the grill, avoiding direct heat. Store cold foods in ice baths, coolers or the fridge until ready to be served.  


Tip 2: Watch the clock.  

Food should not be left out for more than two hours and no longer than one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees. The longer food is left out, the more harmful bacteria can grow and spoil the food.  


Tip 3: Cook all meats to the safe, minimum cooking temperature.  

Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meats to ensure they reach their level safe for consumption.  

  • Hamburger, sausage and other ground meats – 160 degrees 

  • Poultry – 165 degrees 

  • Pork, beef cuts, veal and lamb – 145 degrees 

  • Fish – 145 degrees 


Tip 4: Keep hands, utensils and work surfaces clean, especially during meal prep.  

Remember to wash your hands, utensils and surfaces with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Also, wash surfaces, utensils and hands between handling and preparing different foods to avoid cross-contamination.  


Tip 5: Know the symptoms of food poisoning. 

Food poisoning occurs between 12 to 72 hours after consumption. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and cramps. If symptoms last longer than 72 hours, be sure to seek medical attention. 


Tip 6: Put food out in small batches.  

It is a good idea for cold foods to be placed in two separate containers. One can be stored in the fridge while the other is out for serving. Once the first container is empty, grab the second container from the refrigerator for everyone to enjoy.  


By following these guidelines, you can be sure to enjoy a fun and safe cookout with family and friends. 



Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.