Food Safety for the Outdoors
|Minnesota Department of Health Consumer Fact Sheet
Revised July, 2016
- Download a print version of this document:
Food Safety for the Outdoors (PDF)
- To avoid leftovers, bring only the amount of food that can be eaten.
- When planning meals, think about using shelf-stable food to ensure food safety.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before bringing them with you.
- Bring biodegradable soap so hands and surfaces can be washed often.
- If you are going somewhere where running water is not available, bring water with you if possible or use hand sanitizer.
- If running water will not be available, bring bottled or tap water or always treat water collected from lakes and streams before drinking.
- Information about treatment methods: Water Treatment in the Backcountry (PDF)
- If traveling with perishable food, use a cooler with ice or freezer packs.
- Packing frozen meat and poultry will help them stay colder longer.
- A full cooler maintains its cold temperature longer than a partially filled one.
- Keep raw meat and poultry separate from cooked foods or foods meant to be eaten raw.
- Pack foods in tight, waterproof containers to prevent juices from the raw product from dripping on other foods.
Clean & Separate
- Wash hands and surfaces often.
- Always wash your hands before and after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.
- Don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.
- Harmful germs present in raw meat and poultry can be easily spread to other foods by juices dripping from packages, hands, or utensils.
Cook & Chill
- Fresh and frozen raw meat, poultry, and fish should be cooked hot enough to kill any harmful germs that may be in the product.
- Use an accurate food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to and held at safe temperatures: Use Proper Cooking Temperatures to Ensure Safe Food
- Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
- Only cook food that will be eaten right way to avoid leftovers.
- Discard any food that has been left out for more than 2 hours
(or 1 hour if it’s above 90° F).
- Keep the cooler in a shady spot or covered with a light-colored blanket.
- Avoid opening the cooler repeatedly so that food stays colder longer.