Food Safety Tips for Cooking a White House Fourth of July Picnic
When you shop...
Do not purchase canned goods that are dented, cracked, or bulging. These are the warning signs that dangerous bacteria may be growing in the can. Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in your grocery-shopping cart and in your refrigerator. Plan to drive directly home from the grocery store. You may want to take a cooler with ice for perishables. Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours. Refrigerate within 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F.
When you prepare food....
Wash hands and surfaces often. Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops. To prevent this:
1) Wash hands with soap and hot water before and after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.
2) Use paper towels or clean cloths to wipe up kitchen surfaces or spills. Wash cloths often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
3) Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item. A solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach in 1 quart of water may be used to sanitize washed surfaces and utensils.
When you transport food....
Keep cold food cold. Place cold food in cooler with a cold source such as ice or commercial freezing gels. Use plenty of ice or commercial freezing gels. Cold food should be held at or below 40 °F. Hot food should be kept hot, at or above 140 °F. Wrap well and place in an insulated container.
When you reheat food......
Heat cooked, commercially vacuum-sealed, ready-to-eat foods, such as hams and roasts, to 140 °F. Foods that have been cooked ahead and cooled should be reheated to at least 165 °F. Reheat leftovers thoroughly to at least 165 °F. Reheat sauces, soups, and gravies to a boil. On Stove Top- Place food in pan and heat thoroughly. The food should reach at least 165 °F on a food thermometer when done. In Oven-Place food in oven set no lower than 325 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food. In Microwave-Stir, cover, and rotate fully cooked food for even heating. Heat food until it reaches at least 165 °F throughout. In Slow Cooker, Steam Tables or Chafing Dishes-Not Recommended Reheating leftovers in slow cookers, steam tables or chafing dishes is not recommended because foods may stay in the "danger zone," between 40 and 140 °F, too long. Bacteria multiply rapidly at these temperatures.
Cooking for Groups Food Safety