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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Food and Picnic Safety

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Do you know how to prep, store, and serve food outside safely?

Food safety at picnics and other outdoor events is super important this time of year! We may like to bask in the summer heat and sunshine, but these are major factors to consider when you serve food outside. Some key factors – Use ice and more ice for cold foods! Pack your cooler(s) correctly! Keep hot foods hot too! Know the temperature danger zone! Use your thermometer when grilling! Handle leftovers correctly!

Jenny Lobb talks with Sanja Ilic, Extension state food safety specialist, about what you need to know when hosting a summer picnic and/or bringing food to an outdoor party.

We have many free fact sheets available on Ohioline. Check out these resources for insight about cooking and handling picnic food properly, preventing food spoilage, and serving your guests safe and tasty food.

Whether you are in your kitchen or enjoying the great outdoors, the principles of food safety are the same. Learn how to keep your food safe when planning meals outdoors in this article on Tips for Safer Summer Meals Outdoors by Sanja Ilic.

Also check out this article on Picnics, Cookouts, and Family Reunions!, written by OSU Extension's Live Healthy, Live Well team about summer food safety.

Can you partially cook foods at home and then finish them at your picnic? Hmmm....that could cause some issues. Learn more in this Chow Line article about Safe, Healthier Options for Picnics. There are several things to consider.

This Picnic Food Safety Checklist could come in handy too!

Sanja Ilic is an associate professor of human nutrition in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University, and an OSU Extension state specialist, food safety. Her research includes investigating and promoting food safety, reduction and prevention of food safety risks among consumers, food handlers and populations at risk. This includes novel ways to control and eliminate foodborne pathogens, especially focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables.

OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences professionals offer food safety programming throughout the state. You can learn how to properly handle and prepare food to prevent foodborne illness and even reduce health care costs due to food mishandling. This includes home food preservation.

Did you know that there is even a World Food Safety Day?! This is day that focuses on the need for safer food practices and food safety education globally. The World Health Organization defined this day in 2022 as an annual celebration to “draw attention and mobilize action to prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks and improve human health.” The Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention at Ohio State "actively facilitates, encourages and conducts research that increases our knowledge about foodborne disease and/or leads to science-based solutions to current food safety challenges."