Many of us still head to a family member's house during the holiday season, sometimes with a dish or two to contribute to the holiday table. However, is the food packed properly to ensure food safety?
Packing up food for a road trip can be frightening. If you're afraid of getting sick from a food related illness, then take the proper steps to make sure no one gets sick.
1. Select the correct equipment to use.
Select a good quality cooler, generally a thick-sided, hard cooler. Have available frozen ice packs. Avoid using loose ice to keep food cool in a cooler. Potential contaminated cooler water can affect other foods. Also, use a cooler that’s the appropriate size for what you need and pack it full. A full, stocked cooler will keep foods cooler than a partially filled one.
2. Wash everything properly before packing up.
Wash interior of cooler with warm soapy water, sanitize and leave lid on cooler open to air dry. Before handling foods, make sure to wash your hands.
3. Pack food and beverages separately.
Always separate meat and poultry from foods that will be eaten raw or beverages. Use a separate cooler. Pack the food in the cooler in reverse-use order. Pack foods first that you are likely to use last. If meat and poultry need to stay cool for a long period of time, they may be packed while still frozen. Pack foods in air tight bags or sealed plastic containers. This helps prevent cross contamination.
4. Monitor the cooler temperature with a thermometer.
Use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure the temperature stays 40°F or below.
5. Store the cooler inside the car, not in the trunk. Limit opening the cooler.References:
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture