Eat Smart During the Season of Outdoor Fun, Family and Friends

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As summertime brings a wealth of outdoor activities from tennis and swimming to picnics and barbecues, it's certainly the most popular season for entertaining al fresco. In fact, more outdoor entertaining occurs from May through September than any other time of year. So kick off a summer of fun this Memorial Day with delicious, healthy and safe picnicking.

As summertime brings a wealth of outdoor activities from tennis and swimming to picnics and barbecues, it's certainly the most popular season for entertaining al fresco. In fact, more outdoor entertaining occurs from May through September than any other time of year. So kick off a summer of fun this Memorial Day with delicious, healthy and safe picnicking.

When planning your picnic outing, don't pass on the mayo! This versatile condiment should always appear on the top of the picnic guest list. Not only is mayonnaise health-friendly, but more than 60 years of food safety research proves its ingredients make it safe for the entire picnicking season.

"Many years ago, people were making their mayonnaise from scratch using raw, unpasteurized eggs," said Jeannie Milewski, Executive Director of ADS and a food technologist. According to Milewski, today's commercially made mayonnaise and mayonnaise-type salad dressings are carefully formulated and subjected to rigorous quality control measures. "Not only are the mayonnaise products we find on our grocery store shelves made with pasteurized eggs, they also contain vinegar and lemon juice which act together to form a high-acid environment that slows or even stops bacterial growth," she noted. "It's often low-acid ingredients such as poultry, ham, or potatoes that are often mixed with mayonnaise which are most susceptible to the growth of bacteria."

Milewski added, "With so many varieties of mayonnaise available, including light and fat-free, this health-friendly condiment can be part of a well-balanced diet, meeting anyone's dietary needs. Mayonnaise is made with healthy oils such as soybean and canola, which are a natural source of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. In addition, commercial mayonnaise is free of trans fat."

To ensure your next outdoor event is a smashing success, just follow these helpful reminders from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  • Stay clean. Wash your hands thoroughly before cooking, after touching raw meat, fish, or chicken; and especially after visiting the bathroom. Most foodborne illnesses are related to improper hand washing. If facilities are unavailable, wet hand-wipes or a hand sanitizer will reduce the germs on your hands.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Transport cold foods in an insulated cooler with ice packs. Wrap hot food in towels, then newspaper, and place inside a box or heavy paper bag and use within one hour. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours when the temperature in the food serving area is below 90 degrees F, within an hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees F.    
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  • Avoid cross-contamination. Never cut vegetables or other ready-to-eat foods on the same cutting board as poultry or meat without thoroughly cleaning the knife and board first. Make sure all salad and sandwich ingredients are fresh and properly washed.

The Association for Dressings & Sauces is an international trade association representing the manufacturers of salad dressings and condiment sauces and the suppliers to the industry. Visit http://www.dressings-sauces.org to learn more about the health and safety aspects of mayonnaise and to download a copy of the brochure, "Make Mine Mayonnaise!"

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