12Sep

How Long Can Picnic Food Stay Unrefrigerated?

How Long Can Picnic Food Stay Unrefrigerated?
 Keep It Cold
While it’s OK to let picnic foods sit out for a little bit while serving, it’s safer for foods that are meant to be eaten cold—potato salads, coleslaw and even fresh fruit—to be kept cold (40°F or below) to prevent bacterial growth. Instead of letting food sit out on a table, serve it from an ice-filled cooler or from bowls submerged in a deep tray (or small inflatable pool) filled with ice. Cold foods can be held on ice for up to 2 hours; if temps are above 90°F, 1 hour is the limit.

Keep It Hot

Foods like burgers and chicken need to be cooked to a safe internal temperature and served as soon as possible. (If you serve rare steaks or burgers, you’re assuming some risk with under­cooked meat.) All types of cooked food can stay on a picnic spread for up to 2 hours, but as with cold foods, limit it to 1 hour if temps soar above 90°F. Plus, be sure to use clean plates and utensils for serving—using any that touched raw meat risks the spread of foodborne illness.

The Safe Temp

To know if meats are cooked to a temperature that’s safe, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part without touching bone. Here are the temps to aim for:
All poultry: 165°F
Ground meat (beef, pork & lamb): 160°F
Pork (not ground):145°F
Steaks: 145°F
Fish: 145°F (or until flesh flakes easily)

Posted in Health Information and Tips