The season of barbecues, picnics, and patio parties is upon us! Between picking out the perfect gear for outdoor entertaining and choosing which potato salad to toss up, food safety can quickly become an afterthought. But, fear not! We have some easy tips to keep your summer food fresh and guests happy.

The National Sanitation Foundation International provides this savvy safety advice to prevent food-borne illnesses:

1. Store and transport perishable foods properly.Separate your meats, produce, and salads in their individual containers, and place them towards the bottom of the cooler for maximum insulation. Also, putting the coolers in the car seat versus the trunk allows the containers to stay colder, longer.

2. Put cold drinks in a separate cooler.This is something we don't always think about but should. Putting drinks in another cooler helps keep the cooler containing the food cooler longer by minimizing the number of times it's opened. Pack that Tequila-Watermelon Refresco along with plenty of water to share.

3. Avoid taking dishes that contain uncooked or unpasteurized eggs.Use pasteurized eggs when transporting egg salads and homemade mayonnaise-based dishes, and keep those cold until just before serving.

We can't wait to whip up our Blue Cheese Dressing to drizzle into salads!

4. Don’t prepare food more than one day before your picnic.Cooking food ahead of time allows more time for bacteria to grow, so keep prep closer to the day of the event. Also, the NSF advises remembering to consume the food within an hour of serving (two hours on cooler days).

Pack that Summer Veggie Sandwich well, and you won't have to wait an hour for it to be gobbled up!

5. Throw out leftovers.Since the food has time to sit before and during your summer festivities, the NSF recommends throwing leftovers out after your picnic. Yes, that includes your Gingered Berry Shortcake… if there's any left.

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