Snakes, spiders, crocodiles and cassowaries are scary. Australia is famous for our dangerous animals, so when we back up the caravan to hit the outback there’s no wonder we are always alert. Surprisingly, there is something else that is more likely to get you down while on your camping or caravanning trip then all of these animals put together. Food poisoning is a common factor of many camping trips and can often be quite serious if proper precautions aren’t taken. With refrigeration and contamination often the culprits, here’s how you can make sure you practice good food safety when out on the road.
General Rules to follow:
- Thoroughly clean benchtops before, during and after all food preparation – especially when dealing with meat products.
- When preparing food, use different chopping boards and knives when preparing meat and vegetables.
- When storing food in the fridge (again, especially meats) use leak-proof containers or zip lock bags. This will prevent cross contamination in the fridge.
- Ensure you only eat produce that is fresh. Keeping them in the fridge too long puts you at risk of eating contaminated food.
- Make sure the thermometer is accurate in your fridge. Ensure that the temperature never exceeds 5°C, once the temperature gets higher than this the bacteria in food increases significantly.
- Take items that do not need refrigeration out to make room for the items that do need it. Also, the fuller the fridge is the harder it is for the air to circulate inside of the fridge. Air flow is essential as it regulates the temperature.
- When reheating food, ensure it thaws inside of the fridge or the microwave. Not on top of the bench top. When you eat the reheated food make sure it is boiling hot before you stopping the heating process.
- If you plan on saving left overs ensure you only put it into the fridge once it has stopped steaming.
- When saving leftovers, store them in smaller containers to ensure you are only reheating once. Label and date all left overs so you remember when it was originally cooked.
- Don’t store fresh fruit and vegetables below any raw meat or poultry products. If you do, you run the risk of meat juices dripping onto your produce and subsequently compromising its edibility.
- If you are not sure how often you will be able to get to the supermarket, utilise as many canned and dry products as possible. These are designed to be stored out of the fridge which means they are safer to eat for longer.
With the kitchen in your caravan being much smaller than you’re used to back home, it’s vital to keep these tips in mind before preparing each meal. The above tips really are just the surface of food safety recommendations. There are individual suggestions for barbequing and even guidelines to helping you identify safe water. You can find out more information here which will guide you to make better decisions when it comes to preparing food in your caravan.