We love to get outdoors and go on adventures during the summer while the kids are out of school. And with all the fun summer food, the grilling, the picnics … well, it’s important to remember food safety. In this post we talk about common-sense food safety tips for summer so that your family can keep on having fun, instead of getting sick.
Easy food safety tips for summer ⬇
This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission if you make a purchase using one of our links. Thank you!
If you’ll be taking anything from the refrigerator, use ice packs in a cooler to keep the items cold. If you’re taking items from the freezer, it depends: 1) if you want to keep them frozen, pack them in a cooler with dry ice, or 2) if you don’t care if the item thaws, then just keep it with the rest of the refrigerator items and ice it. If you keep your ice chest in an air-conditioned car (not the trunk!) and a shady place upon your arrival, your food will stay cooler longer. If you’re at the beach, you can partially bury the cooler in the sand and cover it with a beach umbrella to keep it cooler longer — such as this Sport-Brella portable shelter/umbrella.
BE CAREFEUL WITH RAW MEAT
Pack raw meat separately in your cooler from other foods to avoid any cross contamination. And when you cook or grill raw meat, use a meat thermometer to make sure that the meat is cooked to a safe temperature — chicken to at least 165° F, hamburger 160° F, pork 145° F. A digital meat thermometer is more exact.
This tip is mostly for if you’re camping. Don’t drink water from a stream or lake unless you have purified it with purification tablets or a heavy duty water filter, such as filters from LifeStraw.
WASH HANDS BEFORE YOU EAT
The easiest way to do this when you’re on the go is to bring along moist towelettes — it’s a great idea to put a travel pack in your purse or backpack so that you’re ready at a moment’s notice. Hand sanitizer also works. Or, if you’re camping and you have access to sufficient amount of clean water, then soap and a clean hand towel with the water will be just fine.
DON’T LEAVE FOOD SITTING OUT
It’s often the case that picnic food gets left out far longer than it should — past the food safety zone. The rule of thumb from the USDA is that if the temperature is above 90° F then don’t leave perishable food unrefrigerated for more than 1 hour. Otherwise, you’ve got about 2 hours before you need to refrigerate. This often means one of two things: 1) either bring enough ice to re-refrigerate leftovers or 2) plan to have no leftovers.