Packing for picnic

KATHMANDU: It’s the time of the year when family outings and fun with friends is almost essential. Besides deciding on where to go and when, you also need to take a few basic food cautions.

• Pack plenty of paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces at your picnic.

• When you pack a cooler, wrap raw meats and poultry securely, and put them on the bottom to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods.

• Wash all plates, utensils, and cutting boards that touched or held raw meat or poultry before using them again for cooked foods.

• Make sure you kill harmful bacteria by cooking food until it reaches the proper temperature.

• Eat cooked food while it’s still hot. Remember, bacteria can grow when food is allowed to cool down slowly.

• Keep cold food cold. Letting food sit at unsafe temperatures puts you at risk for foodborne illnesses.

• Perishable foods that are normally in the refrigerator, such as luncheon meats, cooked meat, chicken, and potato or pasta salads, must be kept in an insulated cooler with freezer packs or blocks of ice to keep it at 4º C (40º F) or below.

• Refrigerate or freeze food the day before you pack it for a trip.

• When packing a cooler, put your meat or poultry on the bottom, and then pack food in reverse order, so that the foods packed on top are the ones you expect to use first.

• Keep the cooler in the coolest part of the car, and place it in shade or shelter, away from direct sunlight.

• Keep the cooler closed as much as possible.

• Consider using one cooler for beverages and another for perishable foods, since the beverage cooler is likely to be opened more frequently.

• Put leftovers back in the cooler as soon as you are finished eating.

• Discard all perishable foods once the ice or freezer packs in your cooler have melted.

• The simple rule is: When in doubt, throw it out.