You can enjoy traveling and good health if you’re prepared to use some care! By heeding a few hints from the experts at the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, you may be able to avoid getting sick when traveling:
• Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling any food. If soap and clean running water are not available, use moist towelettes or a hand sanitizer.
• If you are traveling with cold food, bring a cooler packed with plenty of ice, frozen gel packs or another cold source.
• Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly under cool running water and use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
• If you’ll be preparing your food at home, wash food-contact surfaces (cutting boards, dishes, utensils, countertops) with hot, soapy water before and after preparing each food item.
• Use separate cutting boards and plates for produce and for meat, poultry, seafood and eggs. Placing ready-to-eat food on a surface that held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs can spread bacteria and make you sick. Keep meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from all other foods in the fridge. Bacteria can spread inside your fridge if the juices of raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs drip onto ready-to-eat foods.
• Use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature. Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating. Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm.
• Refrigerate leftovers and takeout foods within two hours. If the temperature is above 90° F, food should not be left out more than one hour. Refrigerated leftovers should be used within three to four days or frozen.
• Foods should be reheated thoroughly to a safe internal temperature of 165° F or until hot and steaming.
• Don’t taste food that looks or smells questionable. When in doubt, throw it out.