Keep food safe when cooking and serving outdoors

Summer fun with great picnics and barbecues often brings people together with favorite foods, keep food safety in mind as you gather with family and friends.

Summer fun with great picnics and barbeques often bring people together with favorite foods. As the temperature rises, it is important to heed the advice from Michigan State University Extension and Food Safety.gov. Remember to follow these tips:

When serving food outdoors:

  • Perishable food should not sit out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90 degrees Fahrenheit), food should never sit out for more than one hour.
  • Serve cold food in small portions and keep the rest in the cooler. Remember to keep the cooler out of the direct sun.
  • After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served – at 140 degrees F or warmer. Keep hot food hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack not directly over the coals where they could overcook.

Cooking food away from home at picnics and barbeques requires care in remembering to plan for the four core practices of food safety- clean, separate, cook and chill.

  • Remember to make sure hands are washed and surfaces are kept clean while outside. When transporting raw meats, keep them in separate coolers away from fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the correct internal temperature of meat and any foods that are held prior to eating to make sure they remain out of the temperature danger zone. Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts, and chops) should be cooked to 145 degrees F with a 3 minute rest time. Ground meats should be cooked to 160 degrees F and whole poultry, poultry breasts and ground poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees F.
  • Always use a fresh, clean plate and tongs for serving cooked food. Never reuse items that touched raw meat or poultry to serve the food once it is cooked.
  • Keep all cold foods cold and chilled on clean ice.

Keep your family and friends safe from foodborne illnesses by following these important food safety practices.

Relax and enjoy your next picnic or outdoor barbeque knowing that you are prepared to serve up some great food safe from foodborne bacteria.

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