Meals laid out at picnics and campgrounds run the risk of spoiling. Keep it fresh and safe with our seven summer food rules.
On picnic days, never place cooked food straight into an esky. Harmful bacteria churn out tummy-troubling toxins when food is between 4 and 60 degrees. Cook your food the night before, and leave to cool until it stops steaming. Then cover and place in the fridge overnight before popping it into the esky.
Don’t skimp on freezer blocks or ice in an esky. Make sure you pack plenty of chill around your food before travelling. Frozen water bottles make handy extra cooler bricks.
Refrain from undercooking sausages, hamburgers and poultry. Make sure they are cooked through. Using a meat thermometer to check these have reached 75 degrees gives peace of mind. On the other hand, it’s fine to serve grilled steaks rare or medium-rare.
Resist leaving a spread of food on the table to impress guests as they arrive, especially if it’s out of the fridge for two hours or longer. It’s safer to store salads, dips, cheeses, quiches, cold cuts and all other perishable products at 4 degrees or under until they’re needed.
Don’t store cooked meats or sausages in the same container you used for storing raw meat. Bacteria left behind from the raw produce will contaminate the cooked cuts.
Never give frozen food the chance to thaw if you plan to place it in your freezer at home. When shopping, buy refrigerated and frozen foods at the end of a trip. Keep them in a cooler bag or wrapped in several layers of paper until you get back home.
Avoid eating food that’s past its Use-By date. Throw it out. If it’s past its Best-Before date, use the look-and-sniff test and your common sense.
The bottom line
Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. This ensures they’re out of the danger zone.