Whether on vacation or enjoying an outdoor activity such as backpacking or camping, if the food your bring with you is handled improperly, foodborne illness may ruin your trip. Here are some tips for making your next trip safer.
Between 40° F and 140° F is the range in which bacteria can multiply most rapidly -- they can reach dangerous levels in as little as two hours. Cook raw meat and poultry products thoroughly to destroy bacteria. If you are traveling with cold foods, bring a cooler with a cold source.
Since it is difficult to keep foods hot when traveling, cook foods before leaving home, cool them to less than 40 F, and transport them cold. Cooked foods can then be reheated to 165 F.
Because bacteria can easily spread from one food to the next via dripping juices, hands, or utensils, think ahead to avoid cross contamination.
When transporting raw meat, double wrap packages or place them in plastic bags to prevent juices from dripping on to other foods. Also, don't use the same platter and utensils for both raw and cooked meats.
Planning meals for a backpacking or camping trip requires more thought and preparation. Pack dehydrated, canned or chilled foods. Cook food in advance and refrigerate or freeze overnight. Pack with frozen gel-packs or use boxed drinks as a cold source. If packing frozen meats for cooking, bring a meat thermometer to test for doneness.
When possible, bring bottled water for drinking. If you must drink water from a stream or other untreated source, it must be purified no matter how clean it appears. Boiling is a simple method to destroy most harmful organisms.
Pack safely. Use a cooler or pack foods in a frozen state with a cold source.
Carry disposable wipes or biodegradable soap for hand and dish washing.
Discard all perishable foods if there is no longer ice in the cooler or the gel-packs are no longer frozen.