May 28, 2023

Don’t Let Your Outdoor Meal Become a Feast for Bacteria

Contact: USDA PressEmail: [email protected]

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2023 – As summer approaches, millions of Americans will hit the road to visit national parks, beaches and campgrounds. While packing that sunblock, bug spray and picnic blanket, make sure to also take some U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food safety tips along for the ride.

"USDA reminds summer travelers not to let your outdoor meal become a feast for bacteria," said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Emilio Esteban. "Bacteria grows faster during the summer months because it's warmer and more humid. Pack perishable foods safely with a cold source and wash your hands thoroughly while preparing food."

Keep these safety tips in mind while planning your summer getaway:

Avoid the Danger Zone

Food that is between the temperatures of 40 F and 140 F is in the Danger Zone and only has a limited time before it becomes a food safety risk.

Safety on the Road

Camping and Backpacking

Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands before your meals.

For more food safety information, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), email [email protected] or chat live at from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Access news releases and other information at USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service's (FSIS) website at

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USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America's food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit


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Press Release Contact: Email: WASHINGTON, May 23, 2023 Avoid the Danger Zone Safety on the Road Camping and Backpacking Wash Your Hands