A summer trip to the St Albans park or the beach with the family is a real treat and if you are taking a picnic it can be wise to remember a few food safety rules on these hot muggy days. The traditional picnic basket may look great but an insulated storage bag has more insulation and will keep food fresh for longer.
When you are packing your cooler only pack it just before you leave and put the cold foods closest to the ice or gel packs. A fully packed cooler bag will extend the time the items inside stay cold, it’s a bit like keeping your freezer full; packing it full helps its cooling efficiency.
When you are serving up food remember not to leave any perishables out of the cooler for too long, perishable items should generally not sit out in the heat for more than two hours. Bacteria growth is more rapid at hot temperatures. Items that you buy in the refrigerated section of the shop like deli meats and cheese should be kept cold, and if you have condiments that need to be refrigerated after opening, you should put those back in the bag too.
Whole fresh fruit is non-perishable and doesn’t have to be kept cold, but cut fruit should. And lastly, salads (leafy and mayo-based) should be stored with ice packs and left in the cooler. As long as the ice remains frozen in the cooler, your picnic foods can stay there for several hours.