It’s summertime, which means outdoor picnics and backyard barbeques galore!
While your family may have a great time sampling all the tasty treats and enjoying the summer sunshine, there’s a silent killer taking place at those casual picnics.
And now more than ever, it’s critical moms know what to look for to keep their children safe during picnics and avoid making these critical dining errors.
So before you take a bite out of that burger or taste the pasta salad, make sure to be on the lookout for these silent killers:
1. Time And Temp
Imagine the scenario – you arrived late to the party, and the food has been sitting out for hours.
Are you tempted first to run to a bowl of potato salad slathered in mayonnaise? Stop right there!
Items sitting out in the heat are bad regardless, as bacteria grows on food when it lingers between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is known as the “danger zone”, but it’s shocking how many people disregard this fact and eat the food anyways!
A basic rule of thumb is – when it’s hot outside, don’t eat anything that’s been out for over an hour.
And hold even stricter guidelines for food containing meat, eggs, and dairy.
We know, you’re hungry, but you’re just asking to get sick.
Make sure you know what you are eating! If you are allergic to something, whether it’s gluten, strawberries, or even coconut, it’s critical you confirm with whoever made the dish the item is safe for you to eat.
Don’t just “assume” an item is without an allergen, just ask.
The worst thing possible would be to eat a dessert that had nuts which you didn’t know or have your child exposed to an item they are allergic to.
And if you do have severe allergies, make sure to carry Benadryl or an EpiPen if you have serious problems.
Everyday Health encouraged guests to discuss their allergies with party hosts ahead of time:
“Many people don’t like to talk about their food allergies or food sensitivities, but you shouldn’t be embarrassed to tell people about them. It’s actually best etiquette not to keep it to yourself until the night of the party, when everyone is ready for dinner and you can’t eat what your hosts have prepared.
Chances are they won’t be able to accommodate your dietary restrictions on such short notice. At that point, you might feel even more embarrassed.”
Or, if you prefer to not make a big deal, consider eating before you attend, or bring a power bar or snack.
If you have serious allergies, it’s just not worth the risk to subject yourself to all the cross-contamination that can take place.
3. Skip The Leftovers
Believe it or not, you can actually get sick AFTER you leave the picnic.
And as tempting as it is – skip taking home the leftovers.
Not only has the food sat outside all day, but think of all the bugs, hands, and germs that have accumulated on the food throughout the day.
So have fun at the backyard BBQ! But make sure to take precautions to keep your family safe.
Moms, what are some helpful tips you have for food safety at picnics?
Have you ever had a bad experience with eating food at a picnic?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
(h/t Mommy Underground)