Lasting memories are created on the best holidays – and on the worst ones! To make sure you’re not left with flashbacks of food poisoning, there are many precautions to take for eating safely. In the warm summer months, it’s especially important to store and cook food properly to avoid dangerous bacteria, as well as unnecessary waste.
Safe practices with food are all in the planning. Before you leave for your trip, make a food plan so you know when and where you can stock up (farmers’ markets are a definite must to mark on your map), and where you’ll need to rely on your own resources. This will help you to decide how much to pack, keeping in mind that you should buy and pack as little as possible to avoid running out of storage space – and to avoid food wastage!
Plan to base your meals heavily around dry or tinned foods that won’t expire quickly. Pack more of these foods, and plan to buy meat, dairy and fresh produce as you need them. Bring plenty of extra airtight containers, sturdy snap-lock bags, cling wrap and foil so that you can store food safely when needed.
Make sure you use cool storage spaces for the foods that most need it, such as dairy, meat and soft produce. Meat should always be kept below five degrees, and below zero degrees if it is frozen. The danger temperature zone for meat is between five and 60 degrees Celsius – if it is left in this range for more than two hours, throw it out. If raw meat defrosts, don’t refreeze it: use it as soon as possible (if it is still cold). Raw meat should always be stored at the bottom of the freezer, fridge or esky to stop its bacteria-filled juices from leaking onto other foods.
Safe and clean cooking
When preparing your food, make sure you’re using different utensils, chopping boards and plates for uncooked and cooked meat to avoid cross contamination. When cooking meat, keep a meat thermometer handy. Fish and red meat should reach at least 63 degrees Celsius, and poultry should reach 74 degrees Celsius for it to be safe to eat. If you don’t have a thermometer handy, when cooking chicken, make sure there’s no pink left when the meat is cut, and that the juices run clear.