Good Pregnancy Eats
Summer is a wonderful time for a picnic, whether you’re celebrating a birthday, attending a wedding, or enjoying a Saturday afternoon outdoors.
Did you know bacteria can grow in the summer heat? Test your summer food safety knowledge with these 3 questions.
At a picnic, do you keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot?
Bacteria love to grow between 40-140°F (4-60°C). This is called the temperature danger zone. When temperature-sensitive foods are within this range, like on a hot summer day, bacteria start to grow and multiply within the food. Foods that are particularly affected are meats, dairy products, eggs, fish, and poultry.
When it comes to a picnic, it’s important to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Get yourself a plate when the food is first served. Avoid foods that have been sitting out in the sun for more than 2 hours.
Do you like to eat potato salad, chicken salad or egg salad?
Be careful with these. They are supposed to be served cold (less than 40°F/4°C) but are often left sitting out in the summer heat for hours. This means they warm up to the temperature danger zone where bacteria start to grow. The best thing is to get a serving right at the beginning when the salad is still cold. Definitely avoid it if it has remained un-chilled for 2 hours or more.
Do you love to eat hot dogs or enjoy a hamburger off the grill?
If your answer is yes, remember:
Hot dogs are known for possible contamination of a bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes. During pregnancy, do not eat hot dogs cold out of the package. Always cook them until they are steaming hot.
Similarly, hamburgers are at risk for contamination of E. coli. They must be fully cooked and steaming hot.
Be sure to eat meats when they are coming right off the grill. Avoid hot dogs or hamburgers that have been sitting out in the summer heat.
While it may sound overwhelming, these food safety tips keep mom and baby healthy. It’s definitely worth waiting those extra 3 minutes for the hot dog to cook or taking an extra picnic cooler filled with ice to keep the potato salad cold.
Which tip was the most helpful to you? Do you have tricks of your own to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot at your picnic outings? Let me know in the comments below!
Loving this article?
– it’s free.
Duyff, Roberta Larson. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2012. Print.