This information has been reviewed and adapted for use in South Carolina by P.H. Schmutz, HGIC Food Safety Specialist, and E.H. Hoyle, Extension Food Safety Specialist, Clemson University. (New 01/99.)
Many families enjoy taking food along on trips for picnics and to keep little stomachs (and mouths) full while driving in the car. However, improperly stored food could result in an unwanted vacation souvenir — foodborne illness. Packing and storing food with food safety in mind can prevent this vacation disaster, and it is not that difficult. Just remember the "Five Rules of Traveling with Food."
Put the cooler in the passenger section of the car instead of in the hot trunk. Frequently opening the cooler will cause the inside temperature to decrease. Preserve the cold temperature of the cooler by replenishing the ice as soon as it starts melting.
Pitch any foods that warm above refrigerator temperature (40 °F). Food poisoning bacteria grow rapidly at warm temperatures. At the end of the day, if the ice has melted and the food feels warm, discard any meat or poultry left over. Non-perishables like fruits, vegetables, breads and drinks do not require refrigeration and should be okay.
The National Food Safety Database. Food Safety on the Road. Prepared by Marianne H. Gravely, October 1992.
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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement of brand names or registered trademarks by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied, nor is any discrimination intended by the exclusion of products or manufacturers not named. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.