With summer here and the temperature rising, transporting food in your car even for the shortest journeys can lead to some foodborne illnesses.
So what happens if to your food if you stop for a well-earned break on the way, get stuck in traffic, or even worse your car breaks down? On days peaking at 29oC, a parked car can reach 44oC in just 10 minutes. It may even reach a deadly 60oC in 20 minutes.
So let’s think about taking picnics and snacks for the days out, Labor day barbecue, or for the meal at the end of a long journey. Eating food left out for too long or not handled safely could leave the door open for foodborne illnesses. Cold food should be kept at 8oC or below and shouldn’t be above 8oC for more than four hours.
Personally, I like my cold food kept cold and wouldn’t leave high risk food out of the chilled storage this length of time! Once it has reached this threshold you should throw it away.
To help minimize this potential, here are 10 handy tips:
- Always practice good hygiene and hand-washing techniques when preparing and handling food for picnics.
- If you can’t wash your hands before eating, use disinfecting hand-wipes or hand sprays.
- Keep foods cold. Use freezer ice-packs and store food in insulated bags and ice-boxes. Invest in a car fridge designed to plug into the boot of your car.
- Beware of high risk foods such as meats, fish and shellfish. Keep theses especially well chilled with ice-packs in between the food containers.
- Partially freeze water bottles and soft drinks to use as ice packs and drink them as they melt.
- Make sure you have enough cool bags, cool boxes and ice packs for your trip.
- Plan ahead, if you’re travelling long distances, it may be safer to visit a supermarket nearer your destination to get the perishable items.
- Take care of leftovers. Consider how long they’ve been sitting out. As soon as people are finished eating, put food back into cool bags. If you want to snack on it later, you can take it back out of the cooler.
- If there is a fridge at your destination, transfer the food immediately before unpacking the rest of your stuff.
- Consider taking foods that don’t need refrigerating to bulk out your meals like muffins, cakes (without butter icing and cream), bread or snack bars. Canned, jarred and UHT foods can be surprisingly good.
These are good tips too even if you’re only going food shopping. The bigger supermarkets have options of “home delivery”, using commercial chilled vehicles and “click and collect” service which means you can pick up your shopping on the way. This could work for arriving at your destination.
Make life easy, keep safe and healthy is my motto! Have a great Labor day weekend!
Source: TABC Blog by Learn 2 Serve