CHICAGO, May 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Memorial Day is just around the corner, and people are heading outside to soak up the sunny days with cookouts and barbeques. However, warmer weather also increases the risk of food poisoning. As you plan a cookout or pack up the picnic basket, keep your food safe with tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods' Home Food Safety program.
"From picnics to cookouts, eating outside is a fun and tasty way to enjoy the warmer weather," says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Torey Armul. "Be sure to follow proper food safety practices every step of the way to keep unwanted bacteria from crashing your party."
Start with a Clean Slate
The first step to a safe and healthy meal is clean hands. Always wash your hands before and after you handle any foods. When you're eating outdoors you may not have access to soap and water. "Bring along hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol in case water is not available. Also, remember to regularly clean your cooler, picnic basket and tote bags because these items can be a breeding ground for bacteria," Armul says.
Separate Raw Meats, Poultry and Seafood from Ready-to-Eat Foods
If you are planning to cook food on site, separate raw meats, poultry and seafood from other ready-to-eat foods. "Use one cooler for raw meats and another one for ready-to-eat foods, such as fruits, vegetables, cheese and desserts. Bring two sets of plates and utensils: one for handling raw meats and one for serving cooked foods," Armul says.
Pack the Food Thermometer
All food must be cooked to a safe internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria, and a food thermometer is the only way to make sure food has reached this temperature. Remember to pack the food thermometer, and download the Is My Food Safe? mobile app for a complete list of cooking temperatures. "This convenient mobile app can easily be accessed at your outdoor gatherings," Armul says.
Keep the Cooler Cool
Pack perishable food in a cooler to help it stay cold. Keep the cooler in the shade and the lid closed. And freeze bottles of water or juice boxes for a refreshing treat that will also help keep foods packed around them cool. "Pack a thermometer in the cooler to ensure it remains at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below," Armul says.
Toss Perishable Foods
At the end of your gathering, throw out all perishable food that has been unrefrigerated for more than two hours or only one hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The clock starts as soon as your food is served. "Set an alarm to keep track of the time," Armul says.
For additional outdoor dining advice including articles, videos, infographics and more, visit www.HomeFoodSafety.org. For interviews with registered dietitian nutritionists with expertise in food safety, contact the Academy at email@example.com.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods' Home Food Safety program is dedicated to raising consumer awareness about the seriousness of food poisoning and providing solutions for easily and safely handling food in their own kitchens. More information can be found at www.HomeFoodSafety.org.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.
ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America's largest food makers with branded and private branded foods found 99 percent of America's households, as well as a strong commercial foods business serving restaurants and foodservice operations globally. Consumers can find recognized brands such as Egg Beaters®, Healthy Choice®, Hunt's®, Marie Callender's®, Orville Redenbacher's®, and many other ConAgra Foods brands, along with food sold by ConAgra Foods under private brand labels, in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise, club stores and drugstores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong commercial foods presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice, bakery and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.
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SOURCE Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics