Lois Maharg of the Ann Arbor News Bureau reports that “when in doubt, throw it out” is never better advice than during picnic season, when food sits out in the hot summer sun.
Bacteria grow well between 70 and 120 degrees, but they grow most rapidly between 90 and 110 degrees, according to Joan Miller, extension educator at Michigan State University Extension. And in a picnic setting generally there’s a lot of moisture in the air that allows bacteria to grow fast.
These bacteria – E. coli 0157, Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter – can wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal tract and, in some cases, lead to serious illness and death.