Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy Program offers tips for summer picnic and barbecue safety
A popular way to celebrate summer and enjoy the company of family and friends is at an outdoor picnic or barbecue. A little planning and knowledge goes a long way toward making the experience safe and enjoyable for all. The Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy Program, a partnership of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Kohl’s Cares, offers the following safety tips to consider when planning and attending an outdoor picnic or barbecue.
In preparation for the picnic:
- Thaw meat in the refrigerator overnight. Leaving it out on the counter is just not safe. If you are cooking frozen meat, know that it takes 50% longer to cook thoroughly all the way through.
- Don’t partially cook meat ahead of time. It’s safest to cook meat and poultry to its safest internal temperature at the picnic. [Beef, veal, lamb, pork = 160° F; Poultry = 165° F]
- Pack hand sanitizer, plenty of water, bug spray and sunscreen. Don’t forget a first aid kit.
- Check the weather and dress appropriately. Be prepared for inclement weather if it’s in the forecast.
When arriving at the picnic site:
- Wash hands before preparing food. If running water is not available, use wipes or hand sanitizer to clean hands before and after touching food.
- If using a grill, campfire or fire pit, review fire safety with kids. Establish a 3-ft. safety zone around fire to keep kids safe.
- There is no substitute for active supervision. Decide which adults are in charge of supervising kids. In social situations, it’s easy for parents to become distracted or to assume others are watching out for kids.
Keep cold foods cold:
- Cold food should be stored at 40° F or below to prevent bacterial growth.
- Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs. Foods that need to be kept cold include: raw meat, poultry and seafood; deli and luncheon meats or sandwiches; summer salads (tuna, chicken, egg, pasta, or seafood); cut-up fruit and vegetables; and perishable dairy products.
- A full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than a partially filled one. When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter. Avoid opening the cooler repeatedly so that your food stays colder longer.
Keep hot foods hot:
- Hot food should be kept hot at or above 140° F. Never leave food out for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if outdoor temperatures are higher than 90° F. This is when bacteria in food can multiply rapidly, and lead to foodborne illness.
- Wrap hot food well and place it in an insulated container until serving. Keep grilled food hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where it could overcook.
- Always use a fresh, clean plate and tongs for serving cooked food. Never reuse items that touched raw meat or poultry to serve the food once it is cooked.
- If there are young children at the picnic, make sure to cut foods like grapes, carrots and hot dogs into small bites so they don’t pose a choking hazard.