Tomorrow is the 4th of July. People everywhere will be grilling, having BBQ’s, having picnics and enjoying celebrating our country’s Independence Day. Sometimes during all the festivities we forget about simple food safety. Who wants to get sick because they ate potato salad that had not been kept cold enough or had been set out too early on the picnic table? I know I don’t!!! I’ve had food poisoning before and it is NO fun!!!!
Some simple food safety tips are:
1. If possible, keep coolers in the shade, not in the direct sunlight.
2. Keep raw meat separate from all other foods. It’s very tempting to put the raw meat in the same cooler with the potato salad or with the canned drinks. Why would that be an unsafe thing to do? The blood and juice from the raw meat might drip onto the tops of the canned drinks or other containers. This would contaminate the containers and possibly infect everyone with E-coli or salmonella. It’s best to use multiple coolers and keep raw meats in a separate cooler with plenty ice.
3. Raw meat should be kept in coolers on ice until right before cooking.
4. Don’t use the same plate or utensil for raw meat and cooked food. It’s very easy to put the cooked hamburgers or steaks back on the the same plate that the raw hamburgers or steaks were on. But it’s the same reason as keeping the raw meat separate from all other foods. E-coli or salmonella could be lurking on the utensils or plate.
5. Keep the potato salad, mayo, ham, and deviled eggs cold enough when outside. Temperatures down here in south West Texas hit 101 degrees today. It would not take but a few minutes for those foods to ruin. If possible when putting food that needs to be kept cold out on the table, set them in a container with ice surrounding them. This will help to keep them cold while serving. As soon as everyone is finished, immediately close up the containers and put them back into the coolers with the ice.
As you can tell, it is a great idea to have multiple coolers of ice to keep food cold. If coolers keep food cold, then coolers will also keep food hot. If you are preparing hot foods to take to your celebration and don’t have insulated carrying covers, pour boiling water into the cooler and let stand for about 10 minutes right before you leave for your gathering. This will warm up the inside of the cooler and will help to keep the hot foods hot. It’s a simple thought but one that has to be reminded — keep hot foods with hot foods, cold foods with cold foods, raw meat with raw meat and canned drinks with canned drinks.
One more tip — don’t use the ice that the raw meat was in for the ice for your cups. The packages may have leaked and got on the ice. You might not even know that the meat juice was on the ice before you pour the drink over the ice in the cup.
These are just a few food safety tips. There are many more food safety tips that can help to ensure that you have a safe 4th of July food celebration. We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment with some of your tips!!!
Till next time,
The Frugal Housewife