It’s the season for picnics, barbeques, and other outdoor parties. But eating outdoors in warm weather presents a food safety challenge. Bacteria in food multiply faster at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F (4°C and 60°C), so summer heat makes the basics of food safety especially important.
Here are our top tips to avoid upset tummies and other more serious food related illnesses caused by cooking outdoors….
It seems basic, but not everyone does it. Wash hands well and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after visiting the loo and before cooking or eating. If you’re in an outdoor setting with no washing facilities, use a water jug, some soap, and paper towels. Consider carrying moist disposable towelettes or baby wipes for cleaning your hands.
Keep raw food separate from cooked food
Don’t use a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for anything else unless the plate has first been washed in hot, soapy water. Keep utensils and surfaces clean.
Marinate food in the fridge, not out on the worksurface
And if you want to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a separate portion. Don’t reuse marinade that contained raw meat.
Cook food thoroughly
To kill any harmful bacteria that may be present, it’s best to use a food thermometer. Burgers should be cooked to 160°F (71°C). If a thermometer is not available, make sure the burgers are brown all the way through, not pink. Chicken should be cooked to at least 165°F (74°C). If you partially cook food in the microwave, oven or stove to reduce grilling time, do so immediately before the food goes on the barbecue.
Refrigerate and freeze food promptly
It can be hard to remember while a party is going on, but food should not be left out of the cooler or off the barbecue for more than two hours. Never leave food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 86°F(30°C).
Keep hot food hot
Hot food should be kept at or above 140°F (60°C). Hot food should be wrapped well and placed in an insulated container. If bringing hot take-out food such as BBQ chicken to an outdoor party, eat it within two hours of purchase. In addition to bringing a grill and fuel for cooking to an outdoor location, remember to pack a food thermometer to check that your meat and poultry reach a safe internal temperature. When re-heating food at the outing, be sure it reaches 165°F (74°C).
Keep cold food cold
Cold food should be held at or below 40°F (4°C). Foods like chicken salad and desserts that are in individual serving dishes can be placed directly on ice or in a shallow container set in a deep pan filled with ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.
Natural relief from “BBQ Tummy”
If you are unlucky enough to suffer ill effects after eating food cooked outside such as upset stomach, cramps, bloating, wind, diarrhea or nausea, then reach for some herbal help. Thisilyn Turmeric Xtra is a herbal food supplement that helps maintain a healthy bowel and digestive function and has been shown to be particularly effective for relief of upset stomach as well as symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Just take one tablet daily which contains 80 mg of Turmeric root extract and 50 mg of Artichoke leaf extract to quickly get your stomach back on track. For more details visit www.turmericxtra.co.uk.
Enjoy the sunshine while you can and enjoy your al fresco dining experience!