When In Doubt ,Throw It Out

To be safe while you're having fun in the sun, The Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay says it is important to think about food safety long before you serve the food.

She offers the following tips:

Wash Hands And Surfaces Often - Keep everything clean. Surfaces are not just counter-tops and cutting boards; don't forget to clean your utensils, too. If you're going to be out somewhere without running water, bring some water with you. Even disposable wipes will do. Always wash your hands before and after handling food.

Use Separate Cutting Boards And Platters - Avoid cross-contamination. Don't use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Keep your raw meat on one plate and once it's cooked, use a fresh plate. You also don't want to cut up vegetables or fruits on the same board that you just used for raw meat or poultry. Use different cutting boards or thoroughly wash and sanitize them in between foods.

Keep Hot Foods Hot And Cold Foods Cold - Many people tend to leave food out for too long, and that can encourage bacteria to grow. Perishable foods should not be out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. Keep cold food at temperatures below 40 degrees and hot foods above 140 degrees. A well-insulated cooler filled with ice will keep food well chilled. If hot food is going to be out for a long time, keep it warm with sterno heaters. Grilled food can be kept hot by moving it to the side of the rack, just away from the coals where it will stay warm but won't overcook. And when you are done with a meal, don't let the leftovers sit out for too long. Get them back to the refrigerator or stash them back in the cooler as soon as you're done. Be sure to eat those leftovers quickly. You can keep them in the refrigerator for up to four days.

When In Doubt, Throw It Out - Put food away as soon as you are done with it. Better yet, avoid the mayonnaise altogether to be on the safe side. Try vinaigrette dressing instead. But here's a good rule of thumb when you're wondering if something that's been sitting out is still good. Don't guess; just don't eat something that you're not sure about.

Use A Separate Cooler For Beverages - To keep your perishable foods as cold as possible for as long as possible, don't store them with beverages. The drink cooler will be opened and closed a lot, which lets hot air in and causes the ice to melt faster. If you have a separate cooler for your perishable foods, they'll stay colder longer. Beverages generally are not perishable; you're just keeping them in a cooler so that they'll be cold to drink.