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Gardening Q&A: Keep food cool with lots of ice

Posted: June 18, 2017 - 1:32am

Q: My family and I are going camping. Do you have advice for making sure food in the cooler stays safe?

A: Keeping perishables cool is essential to keep food from becoming unsafe. Bacteria multiply rapidly at warm temperatures, and food can become unsafe if held in the "danger zone" (40 to 140 degrees F) for more than two hours. If the outdoor temperature is above 90 degrees F, food can become dangerous after only one hour, so pack the cooler containing perishable foods with plenty of ice or frozen gel packs.

If you are packing canned or bottled drinks, it might be best to put them in a separate cooler. There are several reasons for this. If they are warm when you pack them, they will raise the temperature in the cooler, making it more difficult to achieve and maintain the proper temperature for the perishables. People might open the cooler more frequently to get drinks, also making it harder to keep perishables properly chilled. Finally, if you are storing a raw meat product for grilling, you do not want to risk cross-contamination.

If you have questions about agriculture, horticulture, food safety or services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce (arty.schronce@agr.georgia.gov) or visit www.agr.georgia.gov

 

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