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Your Top Ten Labor Day Weekend Food Safety Tips

Posted by Jesus Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist, Food Safety Education Staff in Health and Safety
Aug 30, 2023
A father and son eating lunch while camping in a forest

When you hit the road for that one last camping trip or beach day, bring food safety along to keep foodborne illness in the rearview mirror.

Here are your Top 10 Labor Day food safety tips for travelers:

  1. Pack perishable foods directly from the refrigerator or freezer into the cooler. Meat and poultry may be packed while they are still frozen.
  2. Use an appliance thermometer in your cooler to monitor that your food stays chilled at 40 F or below.
  3. Keep raw meat and poultry wrapped separately from cooked foods or foods meant to be eaten raw, such as fruits.
  4. For long trips, take two coolers — one for the day’s immediate food needs, such as lunch, drinks or snacks, and the other for perishable foods to be used later.
  5. When you arrive at your campsite, only consume bottled water or other canned or bottled drinks. Water in streams and rivers is untreated and not safe for drinking.
  6. Use hand sanitizer or disposable moist towelettes that contain at least 60 percent alcohol.
  7. Consider buying shelf-stable food to ensure food safety.
  8. When you arrive at the beach, partially bury your cooler in the sand, cover it with blankets and shade it with a beach umbrella.
  9. Don’t eat food that has been sitting out (especially in the sun) for more than 2 hours (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 F).
  10. Always follow your four food safety steps.

Have a food safety question? Contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety specialist or chat live at from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Category/Topic: Health and Safety