Keep Cooked Food Safe To Eat At A Cookout

July 5, 2018

© Flavijus | Dreamstime

Cooking at home, the general rules is you have about two hours to get the food in your stomach or in the fridge before it begins to go bad.  Naturally, that time is shortened when eating outside in the summer heat but it's shorter than most people believe. According to food safety experts, salmonella bacteria easily multiply tenfold in a little over an hour at 92 degrees. Another common food poisoning germ, Staphylococcus aureus, takes a bit longer—one and a half to two hours. Either way, if you were using the same two-hour rule that applies indoors, you’d have a chance of making yourself sick. So if you're planning an outdoor picnic, make sure you are following these guidelines to avoid food poisoning. First, know which foods are the ones prone to going bad in the heat. Generally it's most of them! Cooked vegetables, cooked grain dishes, meats and low-acid fruits, like cantaloupe need to stay chilled if they’ll be on the table a while. Foods that are usually safe include things that are dry-ish, like bread, and very acidic condiments like salsa or relish are generally okay too. But as soon as you put them on a non-acidic food, like vinegar dressing on pasta salad, all bets are off. The vinegar might slow down bacterial growth a little, but not enough to be worth taking chances. Besides keeping cooked foods cool, keep food out of direct sunlight. Make sure you are planning ahead.  If the meat comes off the grill but people aren’t ready to eat, take it inside or pop it into the cooler. Make sure you are washing your hands frequently. A lot of the bacteria that cause food poisoning are ones we carry around on our hands. They either live on us naturally (like Staph. aureus) or can be carried from other foods (like E. coli, which may come free with your raw hamburger meat).

SOURCE: Lifehacker

See and hear more from the 98.5 KTK Morning Show

98.5 KTK Morning Show Podcast