If you’re hosting an outdoor meal or celebration, these summer food safety tips should be top of mind.
Planning an outdoor get-together? If so, you have more to do than just deciding on the menu. When serving food, especially outdoors, it's important to make food safety a top priority. Taking the time now to review these important summer food safety tips makes it more likely everyone will enjoy your planned get-together.
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Here are some summer food safety tips that help ensure that you and your guests won’t get sick when dining al fresco. We’ve also included some popular summer party recipes that are sure to please and will keep guests coming back for more.
15 Summer Food Safety Tips
Hot Food: It’s important to keep hot food hot. Here are some ways to make that happen:
- Use a chafing dish that warms food with hot water that sits in a tray under the food. To avoid splashing and prevent burns, carry hot water in a teapot and pour it into the dish once you’re at the serving table.
- Use canned heat to keep foods hot in elevated warming trays. The lid can be used to set the desired height of the flame so food is hot enough but not too hot. Make sure canned heat isn’t placed next to anything that’s flammable.
- Use an electric food warmer or slow cooker to keep food warm if you have access to electricity (make sure cords are not a tripping hazard).
- Keep dishes covered to retain heat when food is not being served or cover food with aluminum foil.
- Hot foods should be kept at a temperature of 140oF or warmer to avoid bacteria growth. Check temperatures with a food thermometer.
Hot Summer Party Recipes
Cold Food: It’s equally important to keep cold food cold. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this:
- Place bowls of food over an ice bath (a larger bowl filled with ice cubes).
- Freeze serving trays and bowls before filling with food.
- Use metal or ceramic bowls and plates. Plastic does not keep food as cold.
- Keep individual items, like drinks, in a closed cooler filled with ice.
- Use a thermometer to ensure cold food remains at 40oF or below.
Cold Summer Party Recipes:
Other Summer Food Safety Tips:
- When bringing out fresh food, use new pans and utensils. Do not add new food to food that has been sitting out for a period of time.
- Don’t forget drinks, appetizers and desserts—these should also be kept hot or cold, as appropriate.
- If transporting food, keep food separated to prevent cross contamination. Pack cooked or ready-to-eat foods in different containers depending on whether the food is cold or hot. Pack raw food by itself.
- Don’t let perishable food sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If temperatures are over 90oF, food should not be left out for more than an hour.
- If there is no place to wash hands before eating or serving food, offer guests hand sanitizer or wipes.
Other Summer Party Recipes:
Keeping food safe to eat is as important as making sure it tastes good. So in addition to trying the summer party recipes highlighted here, bump up the fun factor of your next outdoor get-together by following these summer food safety tips so no one gets sick from the food you serve.