Food Safety Tip for Picnic Gatherings

  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold (hot hold 135F - Cold Foods 41 or below)
  • When in doubt throw it out - If you have pastas, rice or high protein dishes (including beans) that have been held off temperature for more than 2 hours, discard them. Do not refrigerate the product to serve later! This is generally a 4 hour rule but due to the summer climate it is reduced to 2 hours.
  • Cook foods thoroughly - no "rare" protein products (cooking temperatures below).
  • Cross contamination is a big issue - Use a separate plate for the raw product than you use for the cooked product pulled from a grill. When grilling outside or picnicking we do not always have access to potable water for wash/rinse/sanitize procedures on serving platters.
  • Wash your hands! Sanitizer cannot replace washing when dealing with food products. Sanitizer can however be used as a second line of defense.
  • Ensure that you have a safe source of "potable water" for handwashing. If not, bring water and disposable towels as well as soap.
  • Use separate cooler for drinks to prevent the tops of the beverages being contaminated by raw food products.
  • Plan your menu with an eye to safe food handling. Cook foods in plenty of time to thoroughly chill them in shallow containers in the refrigerator/cooler.
  • Store your coolers in a shady area to keep temperatures low.


All poultry

165 °F

Ground meats

160 °F

Beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, roasts, and chops

145 °F**

Leftovers, reheating

165 °F

**as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.