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June 18, 2024/Daily Health Stories

Importance of Food Safety at your Next Picnic

Planning a summer picnic? A registered dietitian offers some tips to help keep your food from spoiling in the summer heat.

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CLEVELAND - Summer weather is great for picnics, but the heat could end up spoiling your food.

That’s why it’s important to pay attention to how much you’re preparing, especially when it comes to grilling burgers and hotdogs at the park.

“Cook meat in small batches. That way, you’re just cooking what you need, and it isn’t sitting out longer than necessary,” explained Beth Czerwony, RD, registered dietitian for Cleveland Clinic.

Czerwony stresses keeping hot food hot and cold food cold during your picnic is ultimately the goal.

Along with grilling only what you need, Czerwony suggests bringing coolers and ice packs to stop food from entering the temperature danger zone of 40 degrees to 140 degrees.

In general, food should not sit outside for over an hour on a hot day, but it’s always best practice to put it away shortly after serving.

It’s also important to remember to cover your picnic dishes to keep bugs and other debris out.

Along with the food, remember to pack the hand sanitizer as well if you’re not near a sink.

“If you don’t have soap and water, make sure to bring something like hand sanitizer,” Czerwony said. “You don’t want to be handling raw meat and then touch other foods or surfaces without cleaning your hands.”

Czerwony adds if you’re looking for healthy picnic ideas, sticking to lean proteins is always best and you can’t go wrong with a fruit or veggie tray to help keep you full.

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. Cleveland Clinic is consistently recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for its expertise and care. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 81,000 employees worldwide are more than 5,743 salaried physicians and researchers, and 20,160 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,690-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 23 hospitals, 276 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2023, there were 13.7 million outpatient encounters, 323,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 301,000 surgeries and procedures throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 132 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/CleClinicNews. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

Editor’s Note: Cleveland Clinic News Service is available to provide broadcast-quality interviews and B-roll upon request.

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