When the warmer months of summer begin to grow closer, most people start looking forward to the various activities that pleasant weather permits. One of the most enjoyable things to do in summer is to take your meals outdoors and enjoy the experience of dining in the sunshine with family and friends.
However, it’s essential for families to understand that a combination of outdoor environments, higher temperatures, and more guests at the table, can also enhance the risk of illness, food contamination, and food poisoning. So how can you prevent food poisoning from happening to you?
Cleanliness is Essential
Carefully observing food hygiene practices and taking part in frequent cleaning is the best way to fight bacteria. If you’re thinking about hosting a BBQ, make sure you start the event properly by cleaning the tools in advance with lots of soapy water.
Eskies, coolers and picnic receptacles should also be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water between each use as well, to ensure that no bacteria can be allowed to thrive.
When you are handling, serving, and preparing food, make sure that you wash your hands frequently to avoid cross-contamination, especially if you are working with raw meats or other high-risk items. It’s also a good idea to wipe down all preparation surfaces thoroughly throughout the process.
Scrutinise Food Temperatures
Perhaps the most significant risk when outdoor temperatures begin to rise, is whether foods continue to stay cold, or hot enough to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. It’s essential to keep your hot foods at the correct temperature after cooking, and not allow them to fall into the danger-zone. Ideally, all food should be refrigerated within two hours of their preparation.
Similarly, cold foods need to be kept refrigerated or chilled until the time they are served. If you are creating picnic baskets or serving platters that will be left out for guests throughout an event, use cold packs, and ice-trays to ensure the produce remains at a safe temperature for consumption.