The temperatures are falling right along with the leaves, and all those autumnal traditions and festivities are just around the corner. Whether it’s picking apples and drinking cider, having fun on a hayride, walking amongst the colorful trees, or even playing in the pumpkin patch, your fall fun will very likely involve food. This is the time of year when leaves are supposed to turn a different color and fall to the ground. But humans? Not so much.
Stop Foodborne Illness, the national nonprofit representing individuals and families in the fight against foodborne pathogens, wants to make sure you can fully enjoy this beautiful time of the year. So, here are some ideas for keeping your loved ones and your food safe.
Before you get into the frolic and fun of fall, knowing these tips for eating outside ensures the awesomeness of autumn:
Wash your hands, before and after! Are you petting animals, riding rides at the fair, using “the facilities”, changing diapers, eating corndogs, or any one of a million other actions? Remember: Washing your hands is like a do-it-yourself vaccine to avoid getting sick.
Store perishable foods in a cooler or insulated bag. When transporting food that needs to stay cold, place it in a cooler or insulated bag, with a cold source such as ice or commercial freezing gels. Avoid putting ready-to-eat foods in direct contact with ice.
Keep perishable ready-to-eat foods chilled right up until serving time. Cold foods need to be kept at a temperature of 40 °F or below. Organize your cooler contents (keeping beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in another) and reduce the number of times the cooler is opened. Remember: A full cooler maintains its cold temps longer than a partially-filled cooler.
Keep foods to be cooked, separated and chilled until it time to cook them. If the day is warm, as much as is possible, avoid keeping the cooler in the hot trunk of the car. Remember: Keeping raw meats and poultry (and their juices) separate from other foods avoids the potential for cross-contamination. Use dedicated dishes to keep raw meat separate from cooked meat. Raw meats should be cooked as soon as possible after transporting.