Several Rules for Outdoor Food Safety


table_cSummer is a great time for camping. But be very careful. Remember some key rules for outdoor food safety. Keep everything clean. Since water isn't available at every camping or picnic site, be sure to bring disposable wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands.

While cleaning your dishes is a good plan, take care not to pollute. Be sure to use soap sparingly and keep it out of lakes, rivers and other bodies of water.

Dump the dirty water on dry ground away from fresh water.

If you are going backpacking, bring some lightweight, shelf-stable foods, such as peanut butter in plastic jars; small cans or shelf-stable packets of tuna, ham, chicken or beef; dried meats (such as beef jerky), dried fruits and nuts; and powdered milk or fruit drinks.

If you plan to enjoy camp cookouts, keep the weight of supplies low by bringing aluminum foil and/or lightweight pans. Check to see if the campsite allows you to build a fire or if you should bring a portable camp stove or grill.

Don't forget to bring your food thermometer on picnics and camping trips. You may be cooking late in the evening, which makes it difficult to see the food.

Color is never a reliable indicator of doneness. Cook poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and hamburgers to at least 160 degrees.

If you are using a dial thermometer, be sure to insert it 2 to 2.5 inches into the food so the food is in contact with the sensing area. If you are cooking thin foods, insert the probe sideways into the food.

Keep cold foods cold. You have several choices for coolers, but some are more durable than others are. Foam chests have the advantage of being low in cost and lightweight, but they are not as durable as plastic chests.

Here's a tasty recipe from the Canned Food Alliance (

This recipe lends itself to an outdoor eating adventure if you do a little work at home. Make the salsa ahead of time and refrigerate. Marinate the chicken as directed and keep chilled. Keep the meat in a separate cooler from the ready-to- eat foods.

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