Americans waste a lot of food. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that American households discard a whopping $218 billion worth each year — an average of $1,800 per household. Many could easily reduce that amount by actually eating, rather than throwing out, what they buy, while also cutting back on buying and cooking too much at once. In part, that means eating food before it spoils and avoiding foods that turn bad quickly for occasions such as summer potlucks.
The foods listed here are highly perishable and require proper handling when consumed outdoors in warm weather. To avoid food poisoning, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that perishable items be discarded if they remain at room temperature for two hours or more. Think twice about bringing these foods to a picnic or cookout — and if you do, transport and store them in a cooler with plenty of ice or frozen gel packs, and be sure to keep the cooler closed to keep the contents cold and safely edible.