Safe Summer Picnics & BBQs

Safe Summer Picnics & BBQs

Jul 01, 2009

Summer picnics and BBQs: more fun when nobody gets sick!


As people head out for their summer picnics and BBQs, the Spokane Regional Health District wants them to know a few simple tips that can help prevent foodborne illnesses like E. coli, salmonella and other diseases which can ruin summer fun.

"Although many foodborne illnesses are not serious health threats for most people, they can really make you feel miserable," says Dr. Joel McCullough, Health Officer for the Spokane Regional Health District. "There are easy ways to avoid these illnesses as we prepare, eat and store our summer foods."

  • Keep it clean. Wash your hands with soap and water.  Use disposable wet wipes or a waterless hand sanitizer. Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meats.
  • Keep it cool. No refrigerator? Use a cooler with a tightly closed lid and keep it in the shade. Keep potato, pasta and other salads cold until they're eaten. Perishable foods should be kept at 41°F or less.
  • Keep it cooked. Don't trust the way it looks. Use a meat thermometer.
    • Chicken - cook to 165°F
    • Hamburgers - cook to 155°F
    • Beef roasts or steaks - cook to 145°F
    • Fish - cook to 145°F or until opaque and flakes easily with a fork
  • Keep it hot. Serve hot foods immediately after cooking.
  • Use it or lose it. Leftovers must be refrigerated within one hour of cooking. If not, it is safer to throw the food away.

Common symptoms of many foodborne illnesses include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Learn more!