Top Tips for National Picnic Week 2017

Pull out the baskets from out of the cupboards, grab your blankets and head for the great outdoors because it’s National Picnic Week.

And with what’s building up to be the hottest week of the year, this couldn’t be a more perfect week for one either.

According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), “over 20 million people in the UK (40%) plan to get out into the great outdoors for a picnic this summer”.

But what will you need to make yours an enjoyable one?

Well, the National Picnic Week initiative has offered the following four Top Tips:

  1. PREPARATION – Fill up your picnic hamper with all the essentials. On the list should be, cheese and crackers, plenty of water, hand wipes for those mucky few and a blanket to keep you comfy.
  2. ENTERTAINMENT – Bring a traditional game of frisbee or rounders to keep the kids entertained. For those looking to relax with a good page turner, try ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
  3. PROTECTION – Be sure to avoid stinging and biting bugs by packing insect repellent and big bite cream, and remember to protect yourself against the sun rays with suncream, sunglasses and hats for the kids.
  4. TIDINESS – Make sure you tidy up after your fun day out. Don’t leave any litter that could harm the environment or any of our furry friends who live in the park.

However, did you know that nearly a quarter of people are concerned about picnic food hygiene?

And, more importantly, how can we all enjoy ours this summer without worrying about bad bugs and hygiene?

Well, the FSA has recommended the following five easy-to-implement safety tips to keep ourselves safe:

  1. CLEAN UP FIRST – Rinse fresh fruits (including those with rinds) and vegetables under running tap water before packing them in the cool box.
  2. KEEP COLD FOOD COLD  – Place cold food in a cool box with ice or frozen gel packs. Cold food should be stored at 5°C or below to prevent bacterial growth.
  3. ORGANISE YOUR COOL BOX – Pack drinks in one cool box and perishable foods in another. If using freezer packs (frozen drinks work well for this purpose), distribute them throughout the box – not all at the bottom!
  4. KEEP COOL BOX CLOSED – Once at the picnic site, limit the number of times the cool box is opened as much as you can. This helps to keep the contents cold for longer.
  5. PACK AWAY YOUR PICNIC – Once you’ve served it, dishes should not sit out for longer than two hours, or one hour if it’s very hot outside. After this, the risk of bacteria increases and it becomes unsafe to eat, so best to throw it away when you get home. Pack away food so that your guests are not tempted to nibble later. To waste less, pre-plan portion sizes according to the size of your party and only pack what you need.

Heather Hancock, Chair of the FSA Board, said: “When you’re at a picnic this summer, remember that keeping food cool is an important defence against people getting food poisoning. Generally, the cooler the temperature the slower germs will grow. That’s why paying attention to how food is stored and transported is especially important in the warm summer months.”

And if you’re worried about food safety this summer, here’s Your Definitive Guide to Safe Summer Food.

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