What do the church picnic, annual potluck, and bake sale fundraisers all have in common? Give up? The answer is people helping people in a multitude of different traditions. The classic summertime picnic for your church is usually the highlight of the events and is greatly anticipated by all. The thoughts of what dish I bring, should I make a fan favorite, side dish or dessert, or mix it up and try something new all start rotating throughout your mind. We earnestly look forward to this event and the several other food sharing events that occur throughout the year.
Food safety is not something people typically consider until someone becomes sick. Unfortunately food poisoning is a very real and possibly unleashes severe consequences to those sickened by bad food. Botulism, E.coli, Salmonella and Nor-virus are some of the common illnesses caused by food borne pathogens.
What are steps that should be taken to prevent food poisoning? The four simple words that are stressed by the Department of Agriculture are:
•Clean. Wash hands and surfaces often.
•Separate. Don’t cross-contaminate.
•Cook. Cook to proper temperatures.
•Chill. Refrigerate promptly. (if needed)
Key points to think about: If it is canned and the can is disfigured, no matter the expiration date, immediately pitch it. Trying to saving pennies here and there by buying the cheapest food option or using old idle food can potentially cost big time later. You cannot always tell the condition of food by looking, smelling or tasting. Do not take any chances when it comes to the expiration date, if the date has past, throw it away.
Typically picnics are held outdoors, remember to keep food in the shade and covered. Additionally, any mayonnaise or cream like items needs to be kept out of direct sunlight and kept cool as possible to avoid rapid deterioration and contamination. When finished, the leftovers should be closed up and put away in containers and stored at proper temperatures or thrown out.
Food poisoning illness can range from mild to serious, including death. A recent case occurred in Lancaster, Ohio on April 19, 2015. The final results were 31 sick and 1 deceased due to the potato salad made with home-canned potatoes that was the bad ingredient.
Some thoughts to consider. Is our Insurance program adequate for the types of events you hold and or sponsor with the Church? Community meals, potlucks, Church recognition dinners, church social hours.
Remember this is all food for thought.