Picnic Food Safety

Let's Have a Picnic

A picnic is a simple event that does not cost a lot of money. It can be held in a park, in a camping retreat, or even in someone's back yard. It is a way to do something different with something familiar.

Have a family picnic in the backyard. You don't necessarily have to barbeque. Simply make some sandwiches, cut up some fruit, sit on the background, and enjoy some family time. This is particularly good with smaller children who will like the change in pace.

Food Safety is Important

While having a picnic can be a lot of fun, and be a good time to bond with family and friends, it is very important that the issue of food safety be high on the list of priorities. In today's world, with people working one or two jobs each, with so many distractions and responsibilities, it cannot be assumed that people necessarily are trained in food safety when they are young.

It used to be that moms stayed and home and passed on housekeeping and cooking skills to their daughters, and in some respects, to their sons as well. Children were taught food safety skills, and other skills, within the sanctity of the family unit. That has been subtly changed through societal pressures. The end result is that children can reach legal aid and be devoid of some of the simplest skills and knowledge because they are never taught. To be sure, the information can be goggled or viewed on YouTube, but who is to say whether someone who needs to google "Food Safety" is going to do so?

Food Safety is Important
Food Safety is Important

Some Basic Thoughts on Food Safety

With the above in mind, let's cover some basic thoughts on food safety. Basically, hot things need to remain hot, cold things need to remain cold, and food should not be kept at room or outdoors temperature for long. Once the food is unwrapped and served, it should be eaten in a timely manner.

That being the case, it pays to think about what kinds of foods to bring on a picnic. A picnic is different than eating outside in the back yard where there is access to a refrigerator. When someone is eating outside in the backyard, the food remains cold in the refrigerator until right before serving. With a picnic, this is not true.

A picnic may be held at a local park. It may be held in a camping area, or by a lake. In any case, often there are not refrigerated services nearby. Due to that, anything that needs to remain cold and could spoil from being exposed to heat, should be avoided. This includes meat and mayonnaise products and foods such as sliced meat, tuna fish, egg salad, potato salad, and mayonnaise as a condiment on sandwiches.

It is better to have foods that are more suited to warmer temperatures such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or almond butter and jelly sandwiches, bananas, watermelon, fruit of various kinds, trail mixes, nuts, and vegetables or avocados. All of these foods are more capable of handling warm weather without spoiling.

Of course, you can bring a cooler with some ice, but to be extra careful it is well to leave the mayo and meat at home.

Another important point is sanitation. Even if the food is safe, how clean are everyone's hands? People have probably been fishing or playing ball or doing things to get their hands dirty. Be sure to bring along sanitary wipes that kill germs, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water if possible, or have some other way to sanitize hands before eating.

Furthermore, if you are out in the wilds and thirsty, don't just drink from the stream or river. It could be contaminated. Bring along your own sanitary water supply to help insure that you do not drink contaminated water.

Safety and Fun

While people want to be carefree and take a break from dealing with more serious topics in life, the fact is, to have true fun you have to be safe as well. Any situation that is not safe can fall into a dangerous direction, where people could get sick. If you want to have a truly fun picnic, then plan on putting food safety, and general safety, first.

© 2014 Cheryl_Jones

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