Handle food safely when you’re dining outdoors
Dining outdoors is a great way to relax and enjoy time with family and friends, but without careful attention to food safety, it could also end in a trip to the hospital for emergency care. Make sure your next outdoor dining experience doesn’t lead to illness with these food safety tips.
Pay attention to temperatures
Temperatures play a central role in food safety. Hot foods should be kept hot, and cold foods should be kept cold. Follow these guidelines to make sure your foods stay at the right temperature:
- Keep cold foods below 40 degrees F before serving, and don’t eat them if they sit out longer than two hours (or one hour on days over 90 degrees F).
- Keep hot foods above 140 degrees F, and follow the same rules as cold foods for how long hot foods can sit out safely.
- Put drinks in a different cooler than perishable foods, so opening and closing the cooler to get a drink doesn’t expose the food to higher temperatures.
Cross-contamination occurs when items that have touched raw food touch food that is ready to eat. This can allow bacteria to transfer to your food before you eat it, which can lead to food poisoning. To avoid cross-contamination, keep these safety rules in mind:
- Keep utensils and cutting boards that were used on raw foods away from cooked foods.
- Don’t pack raw meat with ready to eat foods to prevent juices from the meat from coming into contact with the food.
- Always discard marinade after removing the meat.
- Wash your hands after handling raw foods
Clean fruits and vegetables
Rinse all of your fruits and vegetables before packing them to serve outside. For fruits and vegetables with firm skins, use a scrubbing brush to clean the surfaces. Dry all of your items off thoroughly before packing them.
If your fruits and vegetables are labeled as washed, you do not need to clean them.
If your outdoor dining party is derailed by food poisoning, the ER at Riverside Community Hospital is ready to help you recover. We are here around the clock to treat all of your emergency medical needs in Riverside. You can get answers to all of your questions about our hospital services by calling (951) 788-3463.