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In hot weather, it can take only 1 hour for perishable foods to spoil and become unsafe.

1) Keep it Cool

Before you go

  • Foods that are normally in the fridge (e.g. cooked meat, potato or pasta salad made with mayo) must be kept cold in a cooler.
  • Refrigerate or freeze food the day before so it’s nice and cold when you leave.
  • Fill a cooler with freezer ice packs, frozen juice boxes, or frozen water bottles to store food on the go. Unsure if it’s cold enough? Use a thermometer to check that the inside of the cooler is at or below 4° C (40° F). 
  • Use two coolers if you can—one for drinks and one for food. 
  • If you use loose ice cubes in the cooler, make sure all food is in sealed containers to prevent melted ice from cross-contaminating foods. 

In transit

  • Place the cooler in the coldest part of your vehicle and use air conditioning, if necessary, to keep food cool.

When you arrive

  • Keep the cooler out of the sun and try to open it as infrequently as possible to keep the warm air out and cold air in. 
  • Cover the cooler with a blanket to help keep it cool. For more tips on what to pack, check out: http://bcdairy.ca/nutritioneducation/articles/whats-in-your-camp-cooler

2) Keep it Clean

  • Clean fruit and vegetables thoroughly at home before you leave. 
  • Bring two sets of utensils and cutting boards—one for raw food and the other for cooked/ready-to-eat items. Pack a bag to store dirty items to keep them separate from clean ones. 
  • Give utensils, plates and trays a good scrub with soap and water at home after each outing. Same goes for the cooler! 
  • Water from a lake, stream or river may look clean but it could still be unsafe to drink. Bring bottled or tap water from a clean source. And clean your water bottles and containers with clean water after each use. 
  • If necessary, you can purify water by bringing it to a rolling boil for one minute. Strain water out through a coffee filter. If you can’t boil it, you can treat it with water purification tablets or water filters. 
  • Be sure to use only safe drinking water for washing food, dishes or brushing teeth! 
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and clean water, and especially before handling food or eating. 

Be sure to wash your hands after you:

Touch raw meat, poultry or fish

Touch raw fruit and vegetables

Use the washroom

Change a diaper

Touch an animal

Touch any dirty surface

3) Cook it well

  • It may be easier to cook meat in advance and chill it at home before you go. You can eat it cold or reheat when you get there. If you do bring raw food to cook, check if it’s cooked enough to be safe to eat: 
Food Temperature

Beef steaks/roasts

63°C (145°F) medium-rare

71°C (160°F) medium

77°C (170°F) well done

Pork chops, ribs, roasts; ground beef, ground pork, beef/pork sausages

71°C (160°F)

Stuffing, casseroles, hot dogs, leftovers, egg dishes

74°C (165°F)

Ground chicken/turkey, chicken/turkey sausages; chicken/turkey breasts, legs, thighs, wings

74°C (165°F)

Chicken and turkey, whole

85°C (185°F)

Fish

70°C (158°F)

  • A digital food thermometer is the best way to know if your food is cooked through and to prevent overcooking. Be sure to check it in the thickest part of the meat and wash the thermometer with soap and water between uses to prevent cross-contamination. 

  • If there are leftovers, be sure to cool in shallow containers and don’t leave at room temperature for more than an hour. 

  • For a more complete list of foods and cooking temperatures, check out: http://befoodsafe.ca/be-food-safe/cooking-charts/ 

Remember: when it doubt, throw it out!

If you want to learn more about food safety, check out Healthy Canadians: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/safety-salubrite/index-eng.php.

Enjoy your outing!

DC Member Blogs

by Nicole Spencer, MEd, RD


Adapted from:

http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/safety-salubrite/summer-safety-salubrite-ete-eng.php http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2007/cfia-acia/A104-10-2005E.pdf

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