Boater's Guide to Food Safety
As the days get warmer, more and more people are heading out for some recreation on the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, the sun and warm temperatures could limit your fun if your food is not protected and you develop a foodborne illness. Following these tips will help to keep you smooth sailing.
- Coolers should be packed with several inches of ice or use frozen gel packs in them.
- Food stored in the cooler needs to be stored in water-tight containers so it does not come in contact with the water from the melting ice.
- All perishable food such as meat, salads, etc needs to be stored in a cooler.
- Coolers should be kept out of the sun if possible.
Food safety tricks
- Take non-perishables along.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Chips, pretzels, cracker
- What to do if you don't have a cooler.
- Freeze sandwiches using coarse-textured bread to prevent them from becoming soggy when thawed.
- Add condiments when you are going to eat.
- Bring along individually packaged packets of condiments rather than bottles or jars.
- Keep your cooler lid closed.
- Every time a cooler is opened, cool air escapes.
- Store the items you are going to need more frequently, like beverages in a different cooler than you are storing the rest of your food.
- Make sure to put perishable food back in the cooler when you are done eating.
- Food sitting at outside temperatures for more than two hours is not safe.
- If the outside temperatures is over 90 degrees the food should not be out for more than an hour because it spoils quickly.
- When in doubt, throw it out.
Now that you caught some fish, you want to keep fishing. Follow these steps to keep your "catch" safe.
- Scale, gut and clean fish as soon as they're caught.
- Live fish can be kept on stringers or in live wells, as long as they have enough water and mobility to breathe.
- Wrap whole and cleaned fish in water-tight plastic and store on ice.
- Keep 3 to 4 inches of ice on the bottom of the cooler. Alternate layers of fish and ice.
- Store the cooler out of the sun and cover with a blanket.
Tips adapted from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service.