Answer courtesy of Andrea Wilcox, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.N., Clinical Nutrition Manager at Harlem Hospital Center
Who doesn’t love a good picnic or cookout during the summer? Sharing a meal at the beach or in the backyard sure can be enjoyable—but not if you acquire a foodborne illness afterward. The most important rule of thumb when eating outside in the summer is that hot foods must be kept hot and cold foods must be kept cold. Generally, bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees F, which is known as “the danger zone.” Because of this, it is important to keep foods below 40 F or above 140 F. If you are transporting food when camping, hiking, or picnicking, it’s best to bring cold foods that can be kept chilled, since it is more difficult to keep hot foods hot enough on the go.
Here are some simple food safety tips that can keep you and your family healthy all summer long:
Reference: United States. USDA. Food Safety and Inspection Service. Food Safety While Hiking, Camping & Boating. May 2011. Web Accessed: 6 Apr. 2015.