Spring is here, and for many people in Illinois and across the United States, that means it is time to venture outdoors again after a long winter in hibernation. As flowers bloom and trees regrow their leaves, enjoying a picnic in a park can be a relaxing way to welcome warm spring weather.
Your picnic will not be much fun if you or somebody else who attended falls ill with food poisoning in the days that follow. As the picnic planner, you can take steps to protect yourself and your guests from becoming ill after eating from your picnic basket. The following tips will help you keep food out of the danger zone and prevent cross-contamination.
Keep Everything Separated
Every dish should be kept in a separate container. This will prevent cross-contamination, the transfer of harmful bacteria from one food item to another.
You should also bring a serving utensil for each item you bring, rather than using the same one to serve every dish. This is another step in preventing cross-contamination.
Choose Foods with Lower Contamination Risks
Picnic foods typically include potato salad, fresh fruit, sandwiches, and other types of salads like green salad and macaroni salad. Many popular picnic foods also have a high contamination risk. Knowing which specific foods have a high contamination risk and eliminating them from your picnic menu can help you and your guests avoid food poisoning.
Deli meats and cheeses can become contaminated with pathogens like E.Coli. You can make your sandwiches safer by choosing carved chicken, beef, and turkey instead of deli slices. Eggs, too, can be risky, so choose a vinegar-based macaroni salad instead of egg salad for your picnic. If fresh fruit is on the menu, wash it thoroughly before you pack it up.
Keep Your Food Cold Until it is Time to Eat
Keep your food in an insulated cooler until it is time to eat. Pack the cooler with ice packs and loose ice to keep the food completely covered. You can also keep a thermometer in the cooler to ensure that the temperature remains below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the lower limit of the danger zone.
After serving food, pack up any leftovers and return them to the cooler as soon as possible. The less time food spends in the danger zone, the less likely you are to contract food poisoning from eating it.
Work with an Experienced Itasca Food Poisoning Attorney
If you or a loved one became ill with food poisoning after eating contaminated food at a picnic, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss the situation in greater detail. You or your loved one could be entitled to recover monetary compensation for the damages related to the illness through a food poisoning claim. To learn more, contact our team of food poisoning lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP today to set up your initial consultation in our office. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.
(image courtesy of Brittany Gaiser)