OUTDOOR (and Indoor) FOOD SAFETY
Keeping Your Cold Foods Cold at Parties
- Use aluminum pans; fill with ice and nestle your bowls in the ice.
- Fill portable tubs with ice and set your bottled water and drinks in the tubs to stay cold.
- Set smaller bowls in larger bowls filled with ice.
Remember to check the ice periodically and replace it if it melts.
If you place ice tubs or inflatable coolers on a table make sure the table is sturdy enough to hold the extra weight of the ice. If the table is wooden or can be damaged by water make sure you put some plastic over the table first. The plastic can be covered with a decorative table cloth. Themed table cloths and disposable table cloths can be purchased at your local grocery or party store.
If you’re serving your food outside try to use a shaded area. The shade will keep your serving area several degrees cooler and the ice won’t melt as quickly. If finding shade is difficult consider renting a tent or awning.
Whether your food is indoors or outdoors; the food still needs to remain at a certain temperature to avoid bacteria from growing. You want your party to be memorable, but not because everyone got food poisoning.
Your refrigerator’s temperature should be at least 35˚ and no higher than 40˚. (Lower than 35˚; foods may begin to freeze. Higher than 40˚; you are setting yourself up for spoiled foods or foods containing bacteria).
Do not allow your food to remain out for more than 4 hours (The 4 hours begins as soon as you set out the food).
Cold foods need to remain at a temperature of 40˚ or colder (Hot foods at a temperature of 140˚ or higher).