Preparing for Picnic Season: Tips on Food Safety

Photo by Marlana

Photo by Marlana

Long days, pool parties, tan skin, and no school (good luck, parents) are just some of the wonderful elements of summer time. But let's not forget about two more summer affairs: picnics and BBQ's. Oooh yes - bring on the watermelon, pasta salads, and anything from the grill! Unless of course, you've got a food allergy.

Don't fret - you and your guests can still enjoy get-togethers that involve food, as long as you follow the following food-safety tips:

#1) Know what allergens to avoid

If you've got a friend or family with food allergies, always keep them in mind when throwing or attending a potluck, BBQ, or picnic. Even if you're not sure if they're coming, be prepared! And if you're a guest with a food allergy - don't forget to warn your host before showing up.

#2) Designate your kitchen tools and make it a party rule. 

When creating multiple dishes, make sure to keep dishes (containing potential allergens) in designated dishes. For example, have one dish and spoon that is used only for the fruit salad, and another for the potato salad, and keep it that way. When guests use the same serving tool for multiple dishes, you increase the risk of cross-contact of allergens. You can even post a little note on the table politely asking guests to keep serving utensils in their designated dish. 

#3) Know the ingredients for every dish.

When you're creating dishes in the kitchen, it can be fun to add new ingredients like spices and seasonings that you may not always add. When creating a new recipe or dish, make sure to write down everything that went into it - including seasonings. That way, if someone needs to know if they can eat the dish, you can easily recall the ingredients. Expert host tip: keep blank recipe cards handy in your kitchen and keep a few of them in front of the dish so guests can learn what's in it and how to make it themselves!