Not much could spoil an outdoor summer picnic or BBQ more than food poisoning. While it’s more common in the summer, the good news is that there are simple ways to keep food safe for enjoying al fresco on a sunny day. Test your food safety smarts with our 7-point quiz!
Why is it important? Keeping food safe to eat for you and your loved ones is especially important in the summer months, the time of year when foodborne illnesses peak. Most bacteria love warmth and moisture — and summer weather supplies both!
In addition, we tend to be outdoors more, potentially exposing food to naturally present bacteria in the soil, air, environment, and animals that it wouldn’t normally be exposed to in the confines of our kitchens, cabinets, and refrigerators.
Are you food safety savvy? Take a quick quiz to find out!
1. Clean hands help keep food safe. Unwashed hands are one of the top causes of foodborne illness. The recommended amount of time to wash hands with warm, soapy water is:
a. 10 seconds
b. 15 seconds
c. 20 seconds
d. 30 seconds
2. Clean hands help keep food safe. What can you do to wash your hands when you’re out and about, eating away from home?
a. Look for clean water to wash your hands
b. Bring your own clean water for washing hands
c. Pack clean, wet, disposable towelettes and paper towels
d. All of the above
3. When in doubt, toss it out. When should you toss out leftovers that are sitting out of refrigeration?
a. 1 hour
b. 2 hours
c. 3 hours
d. 4 hours
4. When in doubt, toss it out. What if it’s really hot? Like over 90 degrees hot? How long can food stay out?
a. 30 minutes
b. 1 hour
c. 90 minutes
d. 2 hours
5. There’s no need to wash the outside rinds of melons like watermelons, cantaloupe, and honeydew.
a. True. Since only the inside of the fruit is eaten, there’s no need to worry about the outside rind.
b. False. Bacteria from soil that may be on the rind can be transferred to the inside of the fruit when it’s cut.
6. How can you tell hamburgers are done cooking and safe to eat?
a. You cut one open and it’s brown, with no pink showing
b. The middle of the patties reaches 160 degrees F, as measured by a meat thermometer
c. The middle of the patties reaches 145 degrees F, as measured by a meat thermometer
d. You press the center of the patty and it is about as firm as the end of your thumb
7. What’s the best way to keep picnic foods safe?
a. Pack insulated coolers with plenty of ice below, between, and on top of foods to keep food at 40 degrees F or below.
b. Transport coolers in the passenger are of the car versus the trunk
c. Keep coolers in the shade, and keep them closed until you’re ready to dive in.
d. All of the above.
Learn more at FDA’s guide to eating outdoors and handling food safely:
For more food tips (all with great savings!), check out my Healthy Living for Less section.