Summer just screams picnic. And picnics wouldn’t be the same without all of our favourite summer foods like deli meats. Deli meats are the perfect picnic food – they’re easy to transport and don’t require any cooking. But before you pack up your cooler, there are a few things you should know about keeping deli meats safe.

Most types of food poisoning are caused by bacteria that thrive in warm temperatures. So it’s important to keep your deli meats cool, both during transport and at the picnic itself. If you’re picnicking in a hot climate, consider packing your deli meats in a thermal bag with ice packs. And if you’re going to be out in the sun for more than an hour or two, put your cooler in the shade to keep the contents from getting too warm.

If you make a deli sandwich to go, make sure to eat it within two hours. After that, the sandwich becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. If you’re not going to be able to eat your sandwich right away, pack it with ice or keep it in a cooler until you’re ready to eat.

If you’re setting up a platter of deli meats and cheeses for your picnic, don’t leave it out for more than two hours. After that, bacteria will start to grow and the deli meats will become unsafe to eat. If it’s a hot day, put the platter in a cooler or on ice to keep it chilled.

You will know if they’ve gone bad if they smell off, are a bit slimy or have changed in colour. But not always, sometimes food can seem fine but still have bacteria that will make you sick. So if in doubt, throw it out!

The most common food poisoning from food at picnics in the summer is Salmonella. This is usually caused by undercooked chicken or other poultry. Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any bacteria that may be present.

Other common causes of food poisoning at picnics include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus: This bacteria is usually found on the skin or in the nose and can contaminate food if it comes into contact with it. It is often transferred to food via unwashed hands.
  • Escherichia coli: This bacteria is usually found in the intestines of animals and humans. It can contaminate food if it comes into contact with feces. Escherichia coli can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Make sure your hands are clean before handling any food. Bacteria can easily transfer from your hands to food, so it’s important to wash them thoroughly with soap.
  • Listeria monocytogenes: This bacteria is found in soil, water and some animals. It can contaminate food if it comes into contact with contaminated surfaces. Listeria monocytogenes can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting and fever.

Most types of food poisoning are caused by improper storage, cooking or handling of food. If you’re packing up hot food for your picnic, be sure to keep it in an insulated container until you’re ready to eat it. And if you’re bringing any type of salad or other cold dish, pack it in a cooler with ice packs.

What about salads, like potato or bean salad? If these salads contain mayonnaise, they can spoil quickly in the summer heat. If you’re making potato or bean salad to take on your picnic, be sure to add the mayonnaise just before you’re ready to eat it. And if you’re buying pre-made potato or bean salad, check the expiration date before you buy it and keep it cold.

Bacteria love warm, moist environments. So, by keeping your food at the proper temperature, you’re less likely to experience any type of food poisoning.

Finally, remember to wash your hands often, especially before you start handling food. And, if possible, use disposable plates and utensils to avoid cross contamination. Examples of improper storage include leaving food out in the sun or not keeping hot food hot and cold food cold.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy your picnic food without worry! So go ahead and pack up those sandwiches – just be sure to eat them before they get warm!

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