The weather is getting warmer, which is wonderful, but that means we are going to be thinking about eating outside. Whether that is camping, a picnic, family get-together, or whatever pulls your meal outside… we need to make sure we are following safe procedures to ensure our food stays safe. Here are a few tips:

 · Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs to keep your picnic safe. Foods that need to be kept cold include raw meat, poultry and seafood; deli and luncheon meats or sandwiches, summer salads such as chicken or tuna salad; cut up fruit and vegetables, and perishable dairy products.

· Keep sack lunches and snacks safe by adding a frozen juice box or small ice pack to an insulated lunch box.

· Going out to eat? Consider planning ahead and bringing an insulated bag with an ice pack to safely carry your leftovers home.

· Summer grocery shopping can be challenging when temperatures are high. Pack your cold or frozen items together in an insulated bag for the ride home (be sure to separate raw meat from the rest of your groceries).

— Anne Pitts is a Kansas State Research and Extension Agent for Harvey County. Family and consumer science  is her specialty. The Harvey County Extension Office can be contacted at 284-6930