If you're anything at all like me, when you think of summer, visions of delicious picnics and mouth watering barbecues might dance in your head!

The plain and simple fact is, that cooking out and enjoying picnics in the park are a huge part of our summer fun.
 
When planning and preparing your gourmet summer fare, you may have also like me, never taken food safety concerns into serious consideration before.
But did you know that during the dog days of summer, the risk of falling prey to food poisoning increases significantly?

Imagine my shock when I recently discovered that about 48 million people in the US get food poisoning every year. 

Of that 48 million nearly 128,000 are hospitalized as a result and tragically, the CDC estimates that more than 3,000 people died from food poisoning or foodborne illnesses in 2011!
 
Knowing this information now, has been enough to convince me that I should be taking food prep safety and handling just a little more seriously than I have in the past. 
After doing a little more research, I've come up with the following suggestions to help keep our summer picnic lunches and savory barbecue dinners free from food poisoning bacteria!

- Store foods that need to be kept cold such as: meats, poultry, seafood, mayonnaise based salads, pre-cut fruits and veggies, and dairy products in coolers with ice or frozen gel packs
(Full coolers keep foods colder than if only partially full!)

- Keep coolers in the shade

- Open coolers as infrequently as possible

- Use one cutting board and set of utensils for meats and different ones for veggies

- Don't use utensils or plates that have touched raw meats for serving cooked meats

- Invest in a meat thermometer to be sure your meats are fully cooked before eating them

- Beef, Pork, Lamb, & Veal (steaks, roasts, and chops) should be cooked to 145 °F with a 3 minute rest time

- Ground meats need to be cooked to 160 °F

- Whole poultry, poultry breasts, & ground poultry should be cooked to165 °F

- Don't leave perishable foods sitting out

- Keep hot foods hot by placing them off to the side in the grill rack

- Have a small fire extinguisher and a first aid kit on hand for emergencies

Last but not least...

- If you any of your expected guest are young children or someone with special needs, who might not understand the dangers of a hot grill, it would be a good idea to set up some sort of a barricade around the perimeter of your grill in order to avoid burns

Here's hoping your summer is jam packed full of  yummy, delicious, and safe picnics and cookouts with your friends and loved ones!

Things you might like

Check out the GoTo Seat

The product that started it all and changed lives all over the world

Find out more
Survey icon

Which one of these two products from our Firefly range is your favourite?

Other articles you might enjoy...

Special Needs

5 Summer Activities For Special Needs Families

1. Make A Home Water Park   Water play can be an excellent source of sensory…

Special Needs

Fun Summer Break Activities for Special Needs Kids

Like it or not, in most areas, the long summer break from school is just a few short…

Survey icon

Public Opinion…

Does your child travel to school using school transport?