It’s summer! Go on a picnic!

It’s summer! Go on a picnic.


By John Henry

Food Service Director, Rockford Public Schools


Michigan has so many fun places to go for a family picnic. What a great way to spend time with the family. One of my favorite things to do is find a remote place on a lake or river where we can have summer fun fishing, swimming, water sports and of course eating! Hopefully you will be able to enjoy your summer too. But be safe!

Plan ahead so you don’t forget the essential items. Your checkpoint list should include a cooler chest with ice, plenty of clean utensils, paper towels, thermometer, trash bags, and containers for left overs.

In preparation for your picnic: don’t thaw meat on counter overnight – that is not safe. Thaw foods in the refrigerator or cook from a frozen state. Cooking frozen meat or poultry will take 50% longer than the recommended time for fully thawed or fresh meat and poultry. And don’t partially cook meat or poultry ahead of time. That can be risky. It’s safest to cook meat & poultry to a safe internal temperature at the picnic.

For a worry free picnic, place perishable foods, such as hotdogs, burgers, poultry, potato salads, etc. in a well insulated cooler with plenty of ice. Keep it cold until you need it.

Don’t leave foods out in the sun. Serve food quickly from the cooler and return it fast. In hot weather, especially temps above 90F, foods shouldn’t be out of the cooler over an hour,

Always check the temperatures of your grilled foods to ensure the proper internal temperatures are met.

According to Servsafe Essentials Fifth Edition, those temps include but are not limited to:

165F poultry-including whole or ground chicken, turkey or duck, stuffed meats

155F ground beef, pork and other meat

145F seafood-including fish, shellfish and crustaceans, steaks, chops, veal and lamb

145F roasts of pork, beef, veal and lamb

Serve food on clean platters and make sure grills are clean before use.

I don’t normally have this problem , but make sure left overs are kept cold in the cooler until you return home and can be refrigerated.

Food always tastes better outside. Go picnic! Have fun!







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