We’re Australian and we love to eat outdoors–it’s a given. We’ll put up with mozzies, sand where it has no business being, and even traffic on the way home.
Here are our top food safety tips for enjoying food in the great outdoors.
- One lesson cemented into our routine over the last couple of years is hygiene. Most of us are also carrying hand sanitizer. So, use this liberally, especially as you’re unlikely to find soap and running water at your remote yet impossibly scenic picnic spot. Disposable wipes are great for wiping down picnic tables/trays etc.
- Clean hands, clean surfaces, and clean utensils are your best friend.
- At the end of the day unpack and clean your cooler when you get home knowing that your future self will thank you.
- This is the big one. Ensure all food has been well-chilled before packing and fill the cooler just before leaving. Your cooler cannot cool still-warm food sufficiently.
- Use plenty of freezer bricks to keep it all cold. Bottles of water stashed in the freezer the night before can sub in if needed. If you’ve grabbed a pack of snags from the freezer, these help too.
- A cooler stacked with cold items will stay cooler longer than a half-full one. If you’ve a couple of small ones, maybe use one for drinks (which you may be likely to open more often) and one for food.
- Don’t forget to keep cooler lids on when not in use and stash the whole thing in the shade.
- Keep your aesthetically pleasing, vintage wicker basket for non-perishable items like crackers & chips, utensils, red gingham tablecloth. So, it’s perishable foods for the cooler, cheese & onion chips for the basket.
- Make sure everything is well-wrapped/in its own container to minimise any cross-contamination. For this reason, we suggest storing raw meat at the bottom of the cooler so if it does leak, it’s not dripping down onto other foods.
- Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), always keep raw and cooked separate. This applies to utensils, containers, and plates as well.
- Your sausages and hamburgers need to be cooked thoroughly. We’re duty-bound to state that government guidelines advise they must reach an internal temperature of 75°C but no, we don’t expect you’re bringing a meat thermometer to the occasion. Cut a snag open to check and any juices should be clear, not pink.
- When not actively noshing, keep everything covered and/or stashed in the cooler. Lucky for you our pates and rillettes come in their own handy-dandy jar with a lid.
Here are a few basic guidelines:
KEEP COLD FOOD COLD – BELOW 5°C
That’s why you packed all those freezer bricks.
KEEP HOT FOOD HOT – ABOVE 60°C
You can keep the sausages on the bbq grill for round two, just keep the flies off them. An upturned plate should do the trick.
2 HOUR/4 HOUR RULE
What does this mean?
When food is neither COLD (below 5°C) nor HOT (above 60°C), you have up to 2 hours to eat it before you return it to refrigeration/under 5°C, if you’re wanting to keep it for a later date.
You have up to 4 hours to eat it before it must be thrown out.
This assumes the food is at ‘room temperature’ but if it’s a 30°C beach day, that isn’t room temperature. If your food is sitting out in the sun then not only is it wilting before your eyes, your 2 hour/4 hour guideline shrinks considerably.
Keep your food in the shade at the very least, preferably in the cooler. If it feels warm to touch, then it is.
Finally, if in doubt, throw it out!
Be particularly vigilant of food safety principles around vulnerable populations such as pregnant people, the elderly, the immunocompromised, and young children.
The Australian Food Safety Information Council is a good source of information. Check out their comprehensive A to Z of resources and learn more than maybe you ever wanted to know – but will be glad you did.
We take food safety seriously here at City Larder.
Our very reason for being – charcuterie – is all about safely preserving meat for future consumption. So, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that our team of chefs are all highly trained in food safety principles, which is backed up by a solid supply chain at every step along the way.
We abide by the Australian HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) Food Safety Program, which ensures compliance with government regulations from production through to distribution.
If you want to know more about our charcuterie products including storage guidelines, check out our FAQ page.
Looking for a little summer recipe inspiration?
Check out these recipes from City Larder
Maybe you consider yourself more of a TikTok-er, then Robbie’s got you covered there too.
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