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Mon July 9, 2012

DUPAGE COUNTY-Follow a few planning tips from the DuPage County Health Department to keep your family and guests safe and healthy during picnics and barbecues.
Since you may be away from home, you need to consider the impact of summer heat on food and food preparation. "Pack" the following Health Department guidelines into your picnic basket:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. If you're eating where there's no source of clean water, bring water, soap, and paper towels or have disposable wipes/hand sanitizer available.
  • Don't marinate on the counter-marinate in the refrigerator. If you want to use marinade as a sauce on cooked food, save a separate portion in the refrigerator. Do not reuse marinade that contacted raw meat, poultry or seafood.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood in a separate cooler or securely wrapped at the bottom of a cooler so their juices won't contaminate already prepared foods or raw produce. Don't use a plate or utensils that previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood for anything else unless you wash them first in hot, soapy water. Have a clean platter and utensils ready at grill-side for serving.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure food is cooked thoroughly to destroy harmful bacteria. Partial precooking in the microwave or on the stove is a good way to reduce grilling time-just make sure the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to finish cooking.
  • Keep hot food at 140°F or above until served. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill, or wrap well and place in an insulated container.
  • Keep cold food at 41°F or below until served. Keep cold perishable food in a cooler until serving time. Keep coolers out of direct sun and avoid opening the lid. Cold foods can be placed directly on ice or in a shallow container set in a pan of ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.
  • Don't let hot or cold perishables sit out for longer than two hours, or one hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90°F. When reheating fully cooked meats, grill to 165°F or until steaming hot.
  • Transport food in the passenger compartment of the car where it's cooler-not in the trunk.


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