Is it Safe to Eat Poultry?
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In the summer heat, dangerous bacteria can multiply very quickly and cause illness that can spoil your fun. Sometimes people confuse flu symptoms with food poisoning. Symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may occur from 30 minutes to a few weeks after eating contaminated food. Fortunately, food poisoning can be prevented. The following is some advice to ensure a safe picnic:
- Food needing refrigeration should not be left outside of a cooler for more than an hour; throw it away if more than two hours.
- Use shallow containers – no more than two inches deep for salads because the center will not get cold. If warm, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Container lids should be tight to preserve nutrient value and freshness.
- Keep raw meat in double plastic bags and or tight –lidded plastic container to prevent leakage.
- Pack perishables like cooked chicken, hamburger or hot dogs in one cooler and use a separate cooler for drinks.
- Be sure foods are cold or frozen before you place them in the cooler.
- Wash hands after contact with raw meats to avoid contamination of buns and other food items.
- Keep nutrition in mind, use more fresh fruits and vegetables for snacking and make sure you wash them before packing them for the picnic.
- Keep coolers in the shade.
- A cooler completely packed with ice and chilled food keeps food cool longer than a partially filled one.
- Fill cooler with freezer packs or keep ice in re- sealable plastic bags to keep melting ice out of cooler contents. Afterwards bags can be use for leftovers.
- Make ice in gallon size plastic bags or any large container. It melts more slowly.
- Cook food thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. Use a meat thermometer to determine when food is done (ground meat 160 degrees F and poultry 180 degrees F) If no thermometer is available make sure meat is brown or gray inside, juices from poultry run clear, and fish flakes with a fork.