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WHEN PICNICKING, KEEP HOT FOODS HOT, COLD FOODS COLD

SHARE WHEN PICNICKING, KEEP HOT FOODS HOT, COLD FOODS COLD

Picnic fare can quickly turn into a food poisoning scare if the items are allowed to sit out in the hot summer sun too long.

So when picnicking, keep hot foods hot (above 140 degrees) and cold foods cold (below 40 degrees), and don't keep cooked foods at room temperature for more than two hours.Your safest choices are foods that can be carried frozen or still in their original, sealed containers.

Also on the approved picnic list are sweet, sour and salty foods with natural preservatives. These include anything pickled and fully cured, smoked or commercially prepared meats.

Such dressings as vinaigrette make the cut, too. Acidic ingredients (citrus, pineapple, vinegar, yogurt and such), garlic and hot peppers all help delay food spoilage.

For more information on preventing food spoilage, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (800) 535-4555, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.