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If you’re eager to roll out the picnic blankets, fire up the fire pit or lay out a tasty poolside spread, follow these simple food prep and safety tips. They’ll help protect you and your guests from becoming ill due to contaminated food.
To keep food poisoning off the menu:
If you freeze and thaw deviled eggs before your party, the safest way to thaw them is in the fridge. Don’t run the risk of allowing salmonella or staphylococcus to tag along for the ride by setting them on the counter. And remember, if you’re not sure if a dish has been out too long, it’s best to toss it and start from scratch.
If you want to be sure your outdoor menu won’t give bacteria a place to lurk, avoid using milk or milk-based products. A dairy-free spread is safer. Here are some common offenders to avoid outdoors:
What do your Grandma’s famous potato salad, your sister’s irresistible deviled eggs and your kid’s favorite tuna salad sandwich have in common? They all contain mayonnaise. Mayo is a fan-favorite dairy product made up of egg yolks, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and salt. Still, it’s the dairy in these babies that puts them in the “perishable” category. These kinds of foods need to be refrigerated or frozen within two hours of prep or purchase. Once outside temps hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit, they must be refrigerated frozen within one hour of prep. And sorry, but no, a bowl of ice doesn’t cut it.
Remember, these steps can help to prevent illness from bacteria, but if you experience food poisoning and need to see a doctor, remember, where you go matters! Make sure to do your research about ERs versus urgent care now so you know where to go in case of emergency.
"May-yo" have a good summer!
Originally published 6/10/2016; Revised 2021
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