Preparing, serving, and eating safe food is important whether at home or on a campout. You must constantly practice safe food handling to avoid food-born illness.
The following are some food safety tips:
Keep cold foods cold. This means below 41º F.
Chill all meats, eggs products, starchy salads, and dairy products to below 41º F before packing a cooler.
Use a well insulated cooler with a tightly fitting lid. Make sure that you have plenty of ice. Block ice lasts longer than ice cubes.
Keep the cooler in the shade. Never allow it to sit in the sun if it can be avoided.
Avoid opening and closing the cooler too often. This will keep the ice longer.
Don't spread bacteria when preparing food, cooking food, or eating. Bacteria can be spread easily from the food to you and others - and back again. Germs can't be seen, so always assume that you need to wash your hands before these activities and it will help you and your patrol stay healthy.
Encourage your patrol to have a designated hand washing station set up and require everyone eating in your patrol to use it before touching any food or utensils used in the food.
Wash your hands with soap and water before working with food - preparing, cooking, or eating.
Wash your hands with soap and water after working with raw meat, fish, or poultry.
Whenever possible, use separate cutting boards and other dishes when preparing raw meat, fish, or poultry.
Put the cooked meat onto a clean plate when needed for serving. Be sure not to re-use the dirty plate that the raw meat was taken to grill on originally. This can lead to cross-contamination.
Cook all meats thoroughly (see other tips in this section for temperature recommendations) and serve as soon as possible.
Put leftovers in the cooler immediately. They should never sit out for very long. If they have been out for four hours or longer, properly dispose of them in the trash.
It might be safer to dispose of leftovers even if it has been less than four hours (from one - four hours) if it is a warm day, or food has been in the sun, or food has been exposed to insects such as flies because they can transmit germs.
A Scout should be thrifty with food. Proper clean up after each meal should prevent foods being wasted due to failure to store them back in the cooler in a timely manner. However, when in doubt about any food item, it is better to be safe and dispose of it rather than risk getting sick.
Stay safe with food to stay healthy!