Preventing Foodborne IllnessJune 25th, 2009 by Editor
Making the most of the outdoors is a favourite pastime during the summer season and a picnic lunch is a great way to enjoy the nice weather. The arrival of summer also brings warmer temperatures and higher humidity so it’s especially important to be mindful of good food safety habits so summer activities can be enjoyed to the fullest and avoid any risk of foodborne illness.
The CFIA published a fact sheet on food safety for camping, hiking and enjoying outdoor picnics. Hopefully you will have the opportunity to be outside this summer and transporting your food safely can be a challenge. Here are some tips when using your cooler.
Cooler safety tips
- Take perishable food in a cooler that keeps food cold at or below 4°C (40°F). Food safety experts recommend using freezer ice packs because they drip less. Loose ice or cubes can melt, then drip and possibly transfer contaminants from one food to another. If you use loose ice, store everything in sealed containers to prevent cross-contamination!
- Refrigerate or freeze food, if possible, the day before you pack it. This way it’s already cold when you put it in the cooler.
- Place your cooler in the coolest part of your vehicle when you’re travelling. On hot days, use the car’s air conditioning, if you can, to keep food cool.
- Keep the cooler out of the sun and keep the lid closed as often as you can. You may want to use two coolers – one for drinks (since it may be opened more often) and another for food.
- Separate raw food from cooked food. Place raw meat and poultry in sealed containers and pack them at the bottom of the cooler to keep their juices from dripping onto other food. Or better yet, pack raw meat in a separate cooler.
To read more about preventing foodborne illness check out the CFIA Fact Sheet.