Lifestyle Reviews

Summer Food Safety

It’s mid-summer, the sun is radiating, and the weather is gorgeous. For many of us, it’s the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities that are fun and allow us to socialize with friends and family. Picnicking, barbecuing and camping personify the joys of summer. But, keeping food safe during these events can be a challenge.

Warm temperatures and cooking outdoors can increase the risk of food poisoning, so careful preparation is required. Depending on the source of contamination, food poisoning symptoms can vary. The following signs and symptoms are common in most types of food poisoning:

 Watery Diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Abdominal pain and cramps

Malady caused by food poisoning can be unpredictable, but for the most part, it can and last anywhere from a few hours to several days. You may feel some any or all of the awful symptoms listed above within a few hours after eating any spoiled or contaminated food, or they may begin days or even weeks later.

Here are some outdoor food-safety tips that will help keep you and your family safe during the summer whether your cooking at home or picnicking.


•Wash your hands for at least twenty seconds with warm soapy water before and after you handle any food.
•Equally important is to wash your hands after using the restroom, changing diapers, or touching animals.
•If you don’t have access to water, there are lots of liquid hand cleaners on the market that will work.
•Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and all surfaces with hot soapy water. These can also be sanitized with a mild bleach solution added to your sudsy water. Rinse well with clean water and let air dry.


•Don’t mix raw and cooked foods. Keep your raw eggs, meat, fish, and poultry separate.
•Use containers or resealable plastic bags to help prevent leakage.
•Place raw foods on the bottom shelf of the fridge or in the bottom of the cooler to prevent their juices from dripping on to other foods.
•Never put cooked food on an unwashed plate that had raw food on it.
•Use a separate cutting board for fruits and veggies and another for raw poultry, meat, or fish.


•Consider precooking your foods beforehand.
•If you’re going to cook food at an event, make sure it’s cooked at the right internal temperature to ensure any bacteria is destroyed.
•Use a clean food thermometer to check and confirm temperatures of food.
•Cook hamburger and chicken to an internal temperature of 74 C (165 F), or until the inside of the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear.
•Meat must be cooked thoroughly.
•Never semi cook any meats and then finish cooking them later.
•Do not re-use marinade after it has had contact with raw meat unless it is boiled separately before re-use.


•Marinate and thaw all foods in the fridge.
•Refrigerate foods quickly after cooking.
•Don’t leave food at room temperature for more than one hour on hot summer days.
•Keep a cooler filled with ice, and in the shade to store foods.
•Keep foods out of danger zone of 4 C to 60 C (40 F to 140 F). Harmful bacteria can grow in as little as two hours in this temperature range.

Be sure to bring other essentials like paper towels, paper plates, garbage bags, and containers for leftovers. Following these simple rules will keep you and your family happy and worry free during your summer events.


  • Food safety is not just a summer issue. This is something that needs to be taken seriously all year long. A lot of people think that they only have the 24 hour flu, but in reality, it is most likely food poisoning. When Lilac says several days she means up to 72 hours or three days.

    Thank you so much for posting this Lilac! I shared this. Food safety is a big concern with us.

  • So important. We I was a kid we had the classic potato salad at a picnic incident. Wasn’t pretty but thankfully everyone recuperated.

  • Great list, simple and common sense. Especially in the summer, when we travel and are always outdoors (with the heat), these recommendations are important. Thanks.

  • thankfully I have never cooked outside and as someone who doesn’t like the heat, I probably never shall . Though the advise is good for all the year round cooking and prevention.

  • these are great tips! thank you for sharing. One thing I have to start doing is cleaning the cutting board properly and thoroghly. i always give it a clean but hardly ever give it a really good scrub

  • This is a great post, so many people or sometimes we just tend to forget, but it’s good to follow especially with all these recalls going on too, it’s better to be safe than sorry!!

  • This is so important to know.I had a high school friend who 15 years ago,had a pot luck weeding reception.Twelve people wound up hospitalized with food poisonizing.One of them was the groom.

  • I’ve had food poisoning and I can tell you it’s not a good experience. I hope everyone is safe this summer.

  • This is a great reminder as we often forget the basics during holiday time. The germs never forget though and are just waiting to nab us!

  • All good tips, I had severe food poisoning once a day after going out and having one slice of pizza, when they checked the placed out they kept their open pizza sauce in the tin can and caused te problem and you are severely ill.

  • Outdoor summer picnics are definitely a concern as far as food poisoning is concerned. I always keep everything chilled and only bring it out when everyone is ready to eat.

  • It always amazes me how little care people take sometimes – picnics at the park and beach should be fun not make people ill!

  • I am vegetarian and my basic is washing and cleaning what I will eat.In the summer it is mainly raw with the exception of some root vegetables and corn on the cb.

  • Food safety is definitely a concern for me after suffering from food poisoning from eating fish at a reputable restaurant. It was a horrible experience that I’ll never forget. I didn’t realize that symptoms could appear weeks after eating tainted food. Thanks very much for the helpful and insightful information.

  • Thank you for your timely and sensible tips for food safety. This awareness must be all year round . Many people, including myself, got ill after eating clam chowder at a New Year’s Dance. I am very careful about food safety. I do not want to cause this discomfort in any of the people who eat at my table.

  • it’s amazing to me how few people understand just how dangerous it is to leave food out even if it’s been cooked. It’s like they don’t understand that bacteria are everywhere and it can land on cooked food making it spoil quickly. I have a family member I just cannot convince of this fact, but I have a saying I tell myself when I’m just that frustrated with her sheer ignorance of food safety. “Don’t teach a pig to sing, it irritates the pig and wastes your time.” Sometimes people just cannot be taught better methods.

  • Great article and reminders. I am also thinking of these things when we entertain. The last thing you want is to make your guests sick. I also look for these things when I am eating on the street from food trucks etc.

  • I am always very aware of not cross contaminating raw and cooked foods. My husband doesn’t get it and I am always catching him not be careful about. So far we haven’t had any problems.

  • Like Salad Bars but much worse.its best to keep these things in the shade even better in ice?? your article was dead on, Thank You

  • I think one of the biggest issues in summer can be dining outside- food is sitting in hot sun with bugs! It’s important to keep it chilled and covered!

  • when we picnic I have 2 coolers, 1 for beverages and 1 for perishables. Keep both in shade. Since the beverage cooler is opened more it wont stay as cold. We fill 2 empty pop bottles with water and freeze them and use these as ice blocks. These will thaw slower then cubes, when almost thawed you can use these as ice cold drinking water

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