Advertisement

How long can I keep side dishes outside before serving?

It's not uncommon for an outdoor cook to stash side dishes like potato salad or coleslaw on the table while grilling up the main events, but the sun is likely to wreak havoc on mayonnaise-based sides. Keep these dishes (or the jar of mayo) in the fridge or in a cooler until you're ready to serve them. The same goes for cheese and lunchmeats, which are also vulnerable to the sun. These foods also need to be dumped after an hour of sitting outdoors in summer weather.

If you're storing things in a cooler, make sure the cooler stays cold. Sit it out of the sun, and use plenty of ice packs or frozen water bottles, which you can then drink, after you've removed the food. It's better to store beverages in a separate cooler so the one with the food isn't opened as frequently.

Even fruits and veggies that have been kept cold in the fridge may be carrying bacteria or tiny critters, so be sure to give your produce a good wash before serving.

Continue Learning about Food Poisoning

Reusable Totes Can Harbor Bacteria and Make You Sick
Reusable Totes Can Harbor Bacteria and Make You Sick
You're trying to do your bit to save the planet by using eco-friendly grocery bags, but if you don't clean those reusable totes frequently and properl...
Read More
News: E. coli Illnesses From Romaine Hit 197, but End of Outbreak Appears to Be Over
News: E. coli Illnesses From Romaine Hit 197, but End of Outbreak Appears to Be Over
As the reported number of illnesses from E. coli linked to romaine lettuce has reached 197, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now s...
Read More
How common is food poisoning?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
We've all been there: face down in the toilet trying to expel the toxic remains of last night's dinn...
More Answers
How can I keep food safe when cooking outdoors?
HealthyWomenHealthyWomen
To keep food safe when cooking outdoors, keep mayonnaise-based dishes or the jar of mayo in the frid...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.