Picnics and outdoor outings are great fun for the whole family. E. coli and Salmonella, not so much. Avoid food-borne illnesses by taking a few simple precautions. Always cook meat thoroughly, especially hamburgers, to kill E. coli bacteria. Use a meat thermometer to check doneness of different cuts. (Hamburger meat should be cooked to a temperature of 160 degrees F or until the middle is no longer pink.) Thoroughly wash your hands and knives, cutting boards, plates and anything used to prepare raw meat before preparing uncooked food, such as fruits and vegetables, to avoid cross-contamination. If possible, it’s best to keep a separate plastic cutting board for meat to avoid contamination. Clean a meat cutting board with a light solution of bleach and water.
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, especially dishes that contain mayonnaise and eggs. And never leave foods that need to be refrigerated out for more than two hours or more than one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees F. For more information on summer food safety and proper cooking temperatures, see: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/Safe_Food_Handling_Fact_Sheets/index.asp