Safely preparing and serving foods for outdoor events poses unique challenges for caterers and other foodservice providers. The large volume of food typically being served at events like barbecues, weddings, graduations, or festivals, coupled with a lack of ready access to running water and traditional kitchen facilities can create conditions ripe for food contamination. Staffing problems and poor training are additional problems commonly cited as risk factors.1
Although foodborne illnesses are a major risk for anyone involved in the food industry, cooking outdoors increases the risk factor. Due to the nature of outdoor cooking, keeping food at the correct temperatures becomes more difficult. Food that is not cooked and stored correctly may become contaminated with bacteria that can cause sickness or even death, and employees who do not wash their hands or keep a clean work area add to this risk.2 A single incident can result in both liability issues and damaged reputations for the companies involved.1
Our barbecue food safety resource features tips on food-safe temperatures, as well as proper handling, cooking and storage guidelines essential in keeping food safety and preventing foodborne illness.