Keep Your Food Safe Outside

It’s easy to let your meal sit out too long when you’re lost in conversation with friends at a summer picnic or on the beach. Follow these rules for preventing foods from spoiling:

• Use cold bowls to serve salads, fruits and mayonnaise-based dishes. You can purchase a special type of bowl that will keep food chilled for up to 8 hours.

Simply pre-freeze the bowl until the gel inside the inner chamber is frozen, and you’ll be able to enjoy yourself without worrying about food spoiling.

• Keep your food in the shade—perhaps under a tree or beach umbrella.

• Put foods that are prone to spoiling—such as cheese, meat and potato salad—in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs on top. Consider using a separate cooler for drinks because you’re more likely to leave that one open. Coolers containing food should be kept closed to reduce the risk of bacterial growth,according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

• If possible, pack food when it’s still frozen because it will stay cold longer.

• Don’t serve or eat cooked meat, dairy products or condiments that have been outside for more than two hours.

• Never leave raw meat or seafood outside—even if you’ve marinated it. Keep in mind, raw seafood may lead to viral food poisoning.

• Serve foods that won’t spoil when you’re outside. Consider packing nuts, chips, peanut butter, bread and granola bars.

• If you’re worried a food has been sitting outside too long, throw it out. Better to be safe than sorry.