- Wash fruits and vegetables ahead of time. There may not be running water at the picnic site.
- Store raw meat separate from other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
- Place drinks and perishable foods in separate coolers. When guests grab drinks, they won't expose the perishable items.
- Use ice packs to keep perishable items at a safe temperature in the cooler.
- Pack a meat thermometer so you can be sure meats are cooked to safe temperatures.
Storing the food
As you enjoy your time outside, don't forget to:
- Fill large bowls with ice and set foods that need to stay cool on top. Don't forget to replace the ice as it melts.
- Keep perishable items in the cooler until time to eat. Make sure these items stay cool. The Food and Drug Administration recommends 40 degrees F or colder.
- Discard any food that's been sitting out for more than two hours.
- Keep coolers out of direct sunlight, and avoid opening them excessively.
Cooking the food
The same rules you follow at home apply to cooking outdoors. You'll need to:
- Cook meat to the proper temperature to destroy potentially harmful bacteria. Hamburgers are safe to eat at 160 degrees F, according to the USDA.
- Separate different types of raw meat from each other.
- Don't place cooked meat on a plate that once held raw meat. This goes for utensils too. Switch out your tongs to serve cooked meat.
- Place cooked meats in a pan by the side of the grill. The heat will help maintain a safe internal temperature.