Keeping foods safe at picnics

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Use these tips to ensure safe eating at your picnics:
• Use an insulated cooler
Put ice or a frozen gel pack on top, with foods to be kept coldest on the bottom.
• Pack right from the refrigerator
Keep food cold or frozen to the touch before putting it in your cooler or cold vacuum bottle, such as a thermos.
• Wrap all foods separately in plastic
Don’t place foods directly on ice that’s not of drinking-water quality. Keep raw meat, poultry or fish well wrapped so that drippings don’t contaminate other foods.
• Don’t put your cooler in a hot trunk
Transport your cooler inside your car — not the trunk. Keep it in the shade at your picnic or campsite, and keep the lid on.
• Keep food and utensils covered until serving time Flies, other insects and household pets can carry salmonella bacteria.
• Keep hot foods hot
Use a vacuum bottle or insulated dish for serving.

• Clean your hands
Take along alcohol-based hand sanitizer and disposable hand towels to use before and after working with food.
• Remember the 2-hour rule
Return leftovers to your cooler as quickly as possible. Two hours is the maximum time food should be left unrefrigerat- ed — one hour if the temperature is 85 F or higher. If your ice has melted or the gel pack is only cool, discard perishable leftovers.

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