Food Left Out at Cookout Can Create Risk of Food Poisoning

by Ella

Having a picnic or cookout at a park or a beach is a great summer tradition, but the warm weather means bacteria can quickly take over your food. Consumer Reports has some essential reminders to keep food poisoning off your summer menu.

“Bacteria love hot and humid summer weather, making it the perfect time of year for harmful bacteria to multiply on food quickly,” said James Rogers, food safety researcher and tester for Consumer Reports. “And when this happens, someone eating the food can get sick.”


More people get food poisoning in the summer than at any other time. Consumer Reports has a few tips for having a safer summer picnic.


Essential Tips for Safe Summer Picnics

Prep and Store Food Properly:


Prep and store your food and coolers the night before.


Fill the coolers with ice to lower the temperature and keep all your food refrigerated until it’s time to leave.

Pack the cooler full without leaving any open space, and put new ice or ice packs on top.

Traveling with Food:

If you’re driving far, keep food in the air-conditioned part of your car, not the trunk, where temperatures are higher.

Upon arrival, stash your cooler in a shady spot.

Separate Coolers for Drinks and Food:

Pack a separate cooler just for drinks so the lid on the food cooler stays closed longer.

Serving Food Safely:

If you are setting the food out for guests to serve themselves, consider putting cold salads and side dishes inside a larger bowl filled with ice.

All food should not stay out of the cooler for more than two hours – or one hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees.

Cooking Meat:

Do not be tempted to partially cook meat at home. Half-cooked meat can be warm enough to encourage bacteria growth, not to kill it.

Your best bet is to grill at the party and use a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached a safe temperature.

By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of food poisoning and ensure a fun, safe, and delicious summer cookout for everyone.



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