Nobody wants their church picnic to be remembered as the one that made everybody sick. Yet, that’s a risk you take when you rush things or make a simple mistake with your food preparation.
Nearly 4,000 people got sick during a foodborne illness outbreak linked to a church or another religious facility between 2006 and 2016. Two people died in these outbreaks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and another 214 were sent to the hospital¹.
Following these simple tips can make sure your guests don’t get added to the list²:
- Plan ahead: Make sure you’ve got enough coolers, utensils and ice to keep your food cool for the entire length of the picnic and aren’t stuck using the same set of tongs to cook and serve your meat. Bring hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to a sink and give yourself plenty of time at the end of the event to put everything back in the refrigerator.
- Thoroughly cook your meat: Bring a meat thermometer to make sure everything is cooked to the right temperature and know what that temperature is. Don’t try partially cooking your meat ahead of time then finishing it up on the grill.
- Keep your food cold: Don’t let any perishable food items –potato salad, deviled eggs, etc. – sit outside your cooler for more than an hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees. Also try different versions of your favorite sides like this mayonnaise-free potato salad that don’t spoil as quickly on a hot day.