picnic basket and food on table

Food safety: How to pack and transport food

Keeping your food safe from the time you take your food item out of the refrigerator or freezer until you serve the food item on the table takes some food safety awareness

Let’s take a look at the steps you should follow to keep your food safe.

  • Keep cold foods cold. Place cold food in a cooler with plenty of ice or frozen ice packs. Cold food should be stored at 40 degrees or below to prevent bacterial growth. Meat, poultry and seafood can be packed while still frozen so that they stay colder longer.
  • Organize cooler contents. Consider packing beverages and perishables in separate coolers. Using this method allows the picnic goer to open and re-open the beverage cooler without exposing the perishables to the warm weather.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate. Be sure to keep raw meat, poultry and seafood securely wrapped. This prevents the juices from contaminating the prepared foods or foods that will be eaten raw.
  • Clean your produce. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water before packing them into your cooler. Don’t forget to clean those fruits that rinds are not eaten such as watermelon and cantaloupe. Dry fruits and vegetables with a clean towel or use a paper towel.
  • Remember, packaged fruits and vegetables that are labeled “ready-to-eat,” “washed,” or “triple washed” do not need to be washed.

View other posts in the series:

  • Food Safety: Tips for picnic site preparation
  • Food Safety: Safe grilling tips (read on/after July 10)
  • Food Safety: Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot (read on/after July 17)

 


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