July is National Picnic Month. It's a month full of perfect weather for trips to the beach or state park and picnic lunches with family and friends. Your parents want to gather everyone for a picnic at a picturesque lakeside park. Before you head out, make sure you're keeping food safety in mind.
Make Sure Foods Stay Cold
Foods that contain items like cheese, eggs, and deli meats need to stay refrigerated. When you're packing the items for the picnic, make sure these refrigerated items remain on ice.
Fill a cooler with ice packs or a layer of ice, place the cold beverages on top. Add another layer of ice and place the salads on top of that ice. Push the salad bowls or containers as deep into the second layer of ice as possible.
Practice Food Safety When Cooking
Who prepares meals and snacks for your parents when they're at home? Do they follow food safety measures, or do you arrive and find perishable items sitting on the counters? Help them avoid food poisoning and foodborne illnesses by arranging home care services.
Thaw meats in the refrigerator. If you're in a rush, thaw them in bowls of water or using defrost in the microwave. Do not leave them on the counter for the day.
When meals are prepared, use two cutting boards to make sure meats are not cut on the same board as vegetables. Drying all dishes with a clean towel is essential. If they use a cutting board, they need to wash it, too, and then spray it with a sanitizing solution that is one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water.
Cook meats to the correct internal temperature. These are the recommendations at FoodSafety.gov:
- Poultry, ground or whole, needs to be cooked to 165 degrees F.
- Ham and hot dogs also need to be cooked to 165 degrees or 140 degrees if it has a USDA-inspection seal.
- Ground meats like pork, beef, and lamb need to be cooked to 160 degrees.
- Pork, fish, beef, and lamb need to be cooked to 145 degrees.
Home care aides help prevent food poisoning by preparing foods and storing them properly until it's time to cook a meal. Caregivers can do the dishes and clean out expired items from the refrigerator and cupboards. They can shop for groceries with your mom and dad and make sure things are put away as soon as they get back home.