SafeFood© Outdoors

The start of summer has arrived! Dig out the white shoes and fire up the grill! This is the time of year we like to spend outdoors – especially those of us in cold weather climates. We can’t get enough!

Spring and summer is a time of renewal and hope – with much of the fun spent outdoors. Part of the outdoor fun involves picnics (channel Yogi Bear: Where is the pic –ik – nic basket?)
Maybe more importantly – what is IN the picnic basket? We food safety folks do a lot of hoping during picnic seasons…

  • Hopefully cold food is toted in a cooler stocked with ice.
  • Hopefully raw meats are kept separate from foods that won’t be cooked.
  • Hopefully the cooler isn’t opened every two seconds (this warms up the temperature so put cold drinks in their own cooler).
  • Hopefully there is running water with soap around for handwashing (if not, use sanitizer or better yet, bring your own soapy dishcloth in a zip lock bag).

Yes there are risks, but do what you can to keep to a minimum. Viva la summer!



Catherine Hemphill Strohbehn has been a faculty member at Iowa State University in the Hospitality Management Program for 30 years. She is a State Specialist with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University. As part of her work, she conducts research, develops educational materials and provides programs to help retail foodservices use their resources effectively and ensure safe food is served. Cathy is a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Certified Professional in Food Safety from the National Environmental Health Association.

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