As you embark on your final camping expedition or a relaxing day at the beach, ensure food safety accompanies you to prevent the risk of foodborne illnesses.
Here are your Top 10 Labor Day food safety tips for travelers:
- Pack perishable foods directly from the refrigerator or freezer into the cooler. Meat and poultry may be packed while they are still frozen.
- Use an appliance thermometer in your cooler to monitor that your food stays chilled at 40 F or below.
- Keep raw meat and poultry wrapped separately from cooked foods or foods meant to be eaten raw, such as fruits.
- For long trips, take two coolers — one for the day’s immediate food needs, such as lunch, drinks, or snacks, and the other for perishable foods to be used later.
- When you arrive at your campsite, only consume bottled water or other canned or bottled drinks. Water in streams and rivers is untreated and not safe for drinking.
- Use hand sanitizer or disposable moist towelettes that contain at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Consider buying shelf-stable food to ensure food safety.
- When you arrive at the beach, partially bury your cooler in the sand, cover it with blankets, and shade it with a beach umbrella.
- Don’t eat food that has been sitting out (especially in the sun) for more than 2 hours (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 F).
- Always follow your four food safety steps.
Have a food safety question?
Contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety specialist or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.