Food Safety Tips When Traveling

— Written By Kim Reid and last updated by Cindy Nance

It’s time for summer vacation trips, and you don’t want to ruin long-awaited plans by stretching the food safety rules.

The road to food safety can either be a bumpy one or smooth—depending on what precautions are taken handling meals as we travel.

Planning ahead is important to keep your food safe during that long road trip. Here are a few tips to get started on your journey.

  • If you are traveling longer than 30 minutes with perishable food, place it in a cooler with ice or freezer packs.
  • When carrying drinks, consider packing them in a separate cooler so the food cooler is not opened as often.
  • If you take perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, and salads, for eating on the road or to cook at your vacation spot, keep everything on ice in your cooler.
  • Meat and poultry may be packed while it is still frozen, that way it is still frozen and it stays colder longer. A full cooler will keep its cold temperatures longer than one that is partially filled.
  • Be sure to keep raw meat and poultry wrapped separately from cooked foods, or foods meant to be eaten raw such as fruits and salad ingredients.
  • If the cooler is only partially filled, pack the remaining space with more ice. For long trips, take two coolers – one for the travel day food needs and one for foods to be used later in the vacation.
  • Keep the cooler in the air-conditioned passenger compartment, rather than in the hot trunk.
  • When you return remember, most leftovers are safe for two to three days when stored in the refrigerator.

Enjoy your summer and remember these food safety tips to keep you and your family safe.

For more information, contact Kim Reid, Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at (910) 592-7161.