How to Avoid Food Spoilage in Your Cooler

by Allison Stowell

1. Keep it shady. Direct sunlight on coolers can be one of the easiest ways to turn frozen ice into luke-warm water. If you can find a shady tree or area to set your cooler in, it will help to maintain a cooler temperature.

2. Use multiple coolers. If you plan to have beverages, meats and other perishable foods in coolers, consider using two or more. Constantly grabbing a drink out of the cooler gives the warm air access to the meat and other perishable foods. Instead, pack a cooler that you plan to leave sealed with your meats until you are ready to fire up the grill, or dig in.

3. Pre-cool your cooler items. If possible, pre-chill food and beverages before placing them into the cooler. This prevents the ice in the cooler from melting and preserves the length of time your items will stay cold.

4. Pack tightly. Make sure you place all foods in sealed plastic containers or air-right bags. Cross contamination can occur if you have open foods inside the same cooler.

5. The 40-degree rule. Make sure your cooler can keep meat below 40 degrees, the safe temperature to preserve meat. With enough ice and a quality cooler, keeping meat at a safe temperature before cooking is a breeze.

About Allison Stowell, Consulting Dietician, MS, RD, CDN for Guiding Stars

As a Registered Dietician, Allison enables individuals to make positive, sustainable changes in their eating habits by stressing conscious eating, improving relationships with food and offering a non-diet approach for reaching and maintaining ideal body weight.

She joins the Guiding Stars team to help people in a number of sectors (grocery, hospitals, schools and universities) to understand how to use the Guiding Stars nutrition navigation program to make healthier food choices.

About Guiding Stars

Since 2006, Guiding Stars has been leading the way in helping consumers make nutritious food choices and recently received a U.S. Patent for the Guiding Stars nutrition-rating algorithm. The Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program is a simple, easy-to-understand tool for making good nutrition choices and is designed to make a positive and lasting impact on public health. Guiding Stars is currently found in more than 1,700 supermarkets including Food Lion, Hannaford, Sweetbay, Homeland, Kings Super Market and Marsh Supermarkets. Guiding Stars has also expanded into public schools, colleges and hospitals and appears on the Shopper mobile iPhone application. Additional information can be found at

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