Food safety tips for road trips

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The “road” to food safety is paved with a few simple tips to keep your family, friends and yourself healthy and happy.

If you are traveling with perishable food, place it in a cooler with ice or freezer packs.

In weather above 90°F, food should never sit out for more than one hour while any food left out for more than two hours should be discarded regardless of temperature.

When carrying drinks, consider packing them in a separate cooler so the food cooler is not opened frequently.

Remember to have plenty of ice or frozen gel-packs available if you take perishable foods to enjoy on the road.

A full cooler will maintain its cold temperatures longer than one that is partially filled. If the cooler is only partially filled, pack the remaining space with more ice. Limit the times the cooler is opened and close the lid quickly.

For long trips take along two coolers, one for the day’s immediate food needs like lunch, drinks or snacks while the other can hold perishable foods to be used later in the vacation.

Be sure to keep raw meat and poultry wrapped separately from cooked foods or foods meant to be eaten raw such as fruits.

Remember to keep the cooler in a shady spot when camping and keep it covered with a blanket, tarp or poncho that is light in color to reflect heat.

Always assume that streams and rivers are not safe for drinking so be sure to bring along bottled water or other canned or bottled drinks.

If camping in a remote area you can bring along water purification tablets or equipment.

Take along only the amount of food that can be eaten to avoid having leftovers when at the beach.

Partially bury coolers in the sand, cover it with blankets and shade it with a beach umbrella.

For more food safety tips for your next road trip, be sure to check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.

By planning ahead and handling food safely you can avoid a hunger drive on the way to your next relaxation destination.

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