Although engaging in outdoor events provide a wealth of fun and opportunity for us to relax and have a great time with friends and family, it also is a great opportunity for dangerous food-borne bacteria and viruses to thrive. In this article, we will talk about the safety measures you can do when eating outdoors to prevent this.
Safety Measures When Eating Outdoors
1. Food Prep (Hot and Cold Food)
There is a difference in taking along hot and cold food but the main similarity is that both of these foods should be kept hot and cold respectively when you eat outdoors. For instance, to keep the food cold, bringing a cooler is a good idea. Stock it up with ice and make sure that perishable food should have a closed lid until it’s ready to be served. Your main enemies here are the bacteria that would form when food is not kept in proper order and with the recommended temperature to keep it safe for eating.If food is left out longer with varying temperatures, it is safer to throw them away.
2. Organize cooler contents.
In addition to the point above, in keeping the cold food cold, it is advisable to store them at 40°F or below to be sure that there is no growth of bacteria. Frozen foods like meat, poultry, and seafood should be packed individually in separate containers. Do not expose them to warmer temperature outside to keep the contents cold longer.
3. Identify, Prevent and Control Risk
Identify the high-risk food (that will cause poisoning due to bacteria) such as dairy produce, raw and cooked meat, seafood, salads and sandwiches. Pay close attention to how they will be served, cooked and eaten to control risks. Whenever possible, bring a picnic table and look for places where you can have seating or benches to eat.
Especially when you are out hiking in mountains or in a place where germs easily spread, it is best to eat as fast as you can as soon as the food is prepared. Eat them while on a picnic table and sitting on chairs instead of the grass and the rocky roads. Do not wait for long to prevent having bacteria be inflicted in the food. The plates and utensils you use must be clean and be free of being contaminated with dirt.
4. Clean fruits and vegetables.
If you have already washed the fruits and vegetables before taking them outdoors for eating, clean them again with running water especially if you are considering eating the skin. Use a scrub if possible and wipe off with a clean paper tissue or cloth to dry. In addition, make use of labels in their containers. Before putting them out in your car or van when traveling, write pieces of labels, such as “ready-to-eat,” “have not rinsed,” and “does not need to be washed.”
5. Do not reuse utensils that are unwashed.
If you do not bring along soap or liquid cleaning detergent for washing plates and utensils, bring disposable ones and do not reuse things once used even if it would be used by the same person. These used materials have already been infected with microorganisms and foreign objects once they are touched with food outdoors.
The number-one imperative rule when it comes to eating outdoors is to keep your hands clean before touching food. Bring paper towels and sanitary wet wipes, if not water and soap, to sterilize and wash them before usage to prevent probable sicknesses and protect your family against any food-borne illness.It is not enough that one person does these, so make sure also to communicate all these safety measures to your family and friends when eating out.