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Dietitians give tips on food safety when eating outdoors

OTTAWA, May 28, 2009 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) — Kick off barbecue season by keeping your family safe

Food safety has been in the news a lot this year, and as barbecue and picnic season is upon us, there is important information on food safety especially when eating outdoors.

Maple Leaf has assembled a network of dietitians to advise and communicate with consumers about food safety. The network is focused on helping consumers be confident in the choices they make so they can enjoy the foods they love, both indoors and outdoors.

Safe food handling is important at all times and that doesn’t change when eating outdoors. We all know the importance of keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold and this becomes a bigger challenge in summer temperatures. For this reason, people must take extra care when preparing and storing foods for outdoor eating.

Keeping food at proper temperatures is important in preventing the growth of foodborne pathogens. Always store raw foods – meats, salads and other products – in the fridge until you are ready to cook or eat. For picnics, and packed lunches, control the temperature by using ice packs and coolers for cold perishable foods, and insulated containers for warm foods. When serving food, be sure to position the dishes out of the sun, in a shady spot.

When grilling, ensure that foods such as burgers made from ground meat, chicken, and hot dogs, are cooked thoroughly by using a meat thermometer to monitor the internal cooking temperature -74 degrees C or 165 degrees F for chicken, ground chicken and hot dogs and 71 degrees C or 160 degrees F for ground beef, veal and pork. Use separate plates and utensils to transport raw and cooked foods to and from the barbecue.

Try to limit handling food outdoors by cutting and preparing food inside before cooking and eating outdoors. And, amidst the fun of outdoor activities, remember to wash your hands before preparing food and eating.

While you’re having fun outdoors with family and friends this summer, remember these easy steps to keeping your food safe. Incorporating these important tips into your day-to-day activities will help you safely enjoy outdoor eating this summer.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

or to schedule interviews with regional members of the dietitian network, contact:
Janessa Bishop, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, (613) 688-7796,; Danica Wolfe, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, (604) 688-2505,; Jacque Benson, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, (403) 266-4710
ext. 227,