Many people taking trips to the beach or a California park will opt to bring along a cooler, but the worry is that improper packing could leave one susceptible to foodborne illness. If you’re preparing meat and other perishable food and storing it in a cooler at any point this summer, then heed the tips provided by the United States Department of Agriculture as related by the AARP.
First, make sure that you have ample reserves of ice and that it has been placed all around the food. The items inside the cooler are going to stay cold much longer if the unit itself is filled to bursting. This operates on the same logic that says freezers will keep food frozen longer during a power outage if the freezer is full.
At the same time, you need to realize that the ice will eventually melt, and thus it’s imperative that prepared foods be stored in their own sealed container so water can’t make contact. Also invest in a thermometer that you can use to monitor the interior of the cooler, making sure that the temperature remains below 40.
When the weather is at its warmest, you can keep things cool longer by keeping the cooler out of the sun with an umbrella or something similar. At the beach, you could bury it and place a blanket on top. And if you have leftovers, store them anew immediately after eating or else toss them out.