Nothing takes the fun out of a 4th of July celebration like your guests contracting food poisoning.
So don’t be THAT host this holiday. Here are some suggestions on how to best handle food during a warm and sunny (we hope) 4th picnic:
Wash – a lot. Utensils, plates, hands – and don’t forget the countertops – should be washed often and thoroughly with warm water and soap while prepping the meal.
Keep raw and cooked apart. That plate you took chicken out to the grill cannot be the same one you use to bring the cooked bird back to your guests. That is, unless you took it in and thoroughly washed it.
Use a thermometer. Hey, I once was just like you. I figured as long as the meat looked cooked it was. But a nagging husband made me start using a thermometer and wow, I have been surprised how many times what I thought was cooked wasn’t. Also, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that as many as one in four burgers has that nice brown color before it is completely cooked.
Keep it cool. Make sure you have enough cooler space to keep perishables and later cooked leftovers at proper temperatures. If the day is particularly hot (say 90 or above), make sure the food isn’t left out more than an hour.
– Sue Ontiveros