LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Labor Day means a lot of Arkansans are planning to get outside and do some end-of-summer camping and grilling.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds everyone that in the middle of all the fun, food safety remains important to remain healthy while enjoying the outdoors.
The USDA offers these top 10 Labor Day food safety tips for those planning on some meals at the campground:
- Pack perishable foods directly from the refrigerator or freezer into the cooler. Meat and poultry may be packed while they are still frozen.
- Use an appliance thermometer in your cooler to monitor that your food is chilled at 40 degrees or below.
- Keep raw meat and poultry wrapped separately from cooked foods or foods meant to be eaten raw, such as fruits.
- For long trips, USDA recommends taking 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.
- 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.
- Use hand sanitizer or disposable moist towelettes that contain at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Consider buying shelf-stable food to ensure food safety.
- When you arrive at the beach, partially bury your cooler in the sand, cover it with blankets and shade it with a beach umbrella.
- Don’t eat food that has been sitting out, especially in the sun, for more than two hours, or one hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees.
- Always follow the four food safety steps of cleaning hands and surfaces, separating food items to avoid cross-contamination, cooking to proper temperatures by using a food thermometer and chilling by refrigerating properly.
Looking for a campsite for this weekend? The Arkansas State Parks maintains a list of available space including cabins and lodges for the weekend at ArkansasStateParks.com/Weekend-Availability.