Outdoor Party Food Safety Check List

Memorial Day parties are in full swing this weekend and outdoor fun and food go hand-in-hand. I’m running this post again as a quick check list to keep foods safe outdoors. Have fun and play it safe!

Picnic and Outdoor Party Food Safety Tips

Summertime brings great opportunities for family and friends to get together. School is out, vacation is in! Our calendars are overloaded with graduations, holidays, reunions, pool parties, picnics and backyard barbeques.
The one thing in common with all these events is food! Snacks abound and the grill is fired up ready to go. On such important occasions, the last thing you want is to get (or give guests) a tummy ache, or worse.
Everyone who has had a bout with food poisoning knows the not-so-pleasant side effects of eating the right thing at the wrong time. Actually, time is the key to avoiding most food illness issues associated with outdoor parties.

Here are some tips to help you make keep your party foodie friendly!

Hot Foods

  • Cook grilled food until it reaches the proper temperature. A grill probe type thermometer is a wise investment. Safe minimal internal temperature for hamburgers is 155 degrees, fish, pork chops and beef steaks is 145 degrees and poultry 165 degrees.
  • Keep cooked food hot on side of grill or in a crockpot held at 135 degrees or higher.

Cold foods

  • Only put out small amounts of food at a time and keep extra food refrigerated. Keep food iced if possible by putting trays on ice and partially submerge bowls in ice.
  • Never refill containers. Combining foods from different times can contaminate your dish.
  • Keep cold foods stored under 40 degrees and toss any food left out longer than 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 degrees).
  • Only pack leftovers for guests from extra refrigerated supplies.
  • Keep “doggie bag” refrigerated until guests depart.
  • Transporting food in a cooler is the best method, but transporting food in a sealed container inside a bag with ice is okay for short distances. Remember that vehicles absorb and store added heat.


Have a safe summer and if have any extra, throw a burger on for me!

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2 Responses to Outdoor Party Food Safety Check List

  1. Nicole says:

    Cindy, this is a great post, and I think one that many need to read. It’s important to remember food has to stay safe. I am not interested in getting sick after an outdoor get together, and it has happened before. Great article!
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