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revised March 07, 2012

Environmental Health

Food

Food Safety at Home

Eating outdoors

Food safety is very important when you eat outdoors, whether you are camping, hiking, barbequing or having a picnic. Here are the most important tips to keep food safe when you eat outdoors:

Clean

Pack your food in clean bags and containers. Take along clean utensils and plates.

Before you eat, make sure your hands are clean. If you don't have access to running water, take along your own clean, safe water and soap to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. You can use hand sanitizer, but it does not work as well as washing with water and soap.

Chill

Foods, such as raw meats, seafood and leftovers, can easily grow bacteria and become unsafe to eat. They need to be kept cold (colder than 4C) while travelling and until you are ready cook or eat.

Pack food in a cooler or insulated bag, filled with bags of ice. If you use frozen ice packs instead, make sure you use enough to cover the food. Frozen ice packs do not keep foods cold for as long as bags of ice.

Keep the cooler or insulated bag cold by placing it away from direct sunlight and by keeping it closed. It may be helpful to have a separate cooler for drinks and other snacks that you can open more frequently.

When you take food out of the cooler, don't allow the food to sit out for more than one hour, and never leave it in direct sunlight. Return it to your cooler or insulated bag as quickly as possible.

Separate

Pack raw meats and seafood in separate containers so they don't spread bacteria to other food. Use containers that have secure lids to prevent leaks. Store the containers of raw meats and seafood beneath your other food, including vegetables, fruit, prepared food and drinks.

If you don't have access to hot running water to wash utensils, plates and cutting boards, take along several sets. This way, you can use separate utensils, plates and cutting boards for raw meats and seafood, and for your other foods.

Heat

Whether you cook food on a barbeque or over a campfire, it must get hot enough to kill harmful bacteria. For a charcoal barbeque, use enough charcoal and make sure it is glowing red before you start to cook. For a gas barbeque, heat it up to operating temperature.

The chart below shows safe outdoor cooking and reheating temperatures. Use a food thermometer to ensure your food reaches and stays at these temperatures for at least 15 seconds.

Poultry (e.g., chicken, turkey, duck)
Whole cuts82C
Pieces 74C
Ground poultry 74C
Beef, Goat, Lamb
Whole cuts 60C
Pieces 60C
Ground beef, goat, lamb 71C
Pork
Whole cuts 71C
Pieces 71C
Ground beef, goat, lamb 71C
Fish 70C
Food mixtures (with meat, fish, or eggs) 74C
Other foods/Leftovers 74C

Print the "Food safety at home checklist and temperature chart" to keep in your kitchen.


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Revised: March 07, 2012

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