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Measures for keeping food safe on your camping holiday

Date: 12/06/2015
Source: DEKRA-Info – Lu dans Camping(DCC)

Preparing, keeping and cooking healthy meals is obviously very important wherever you are.
When you are camping this can be quite a challenge but the same rules and discipline apply as at home, even if heat, rain, wind or a confined space make cooking meals more complicated. The health and wellbeing of the cook and those around the table depend on it.
1. Wash your hands in warm water (or use a disinfectant impregnated wipe) before you handle food
2. Keep worktops clean using kitchen towel
3. Dishcloths and teatowels harbour germs if they have been used several times. They do not dry properly, so use disposable ones instead.
4. Wash all poultry, seafood, vegetables and raw fruit in drinking water before use. Use different knives and cutting boards for each type of food.
5. Test the temperature of food cooked on a barbecue with a thermometer.
6. Never put cooked food on the same plate that previously contained raw food. Store left-overs immediately in the fridge or freezer.
7. When travelling from home to the campsite (or from the shops to the campsite) never leave perishable food (meat, poultry, fruit, fish, etc.) at room temperature or in a car for more than an hour, especially in hot weather. If you are unable to put your food shopping into a fridge very quickly, we suggest you use a hermetically sealed cool box with ice or freezer blocks.
8. Keep the cool box out of the sun and remove its lid in the shade to ensure that the temperature inside does not exceed 4°C (40°F). Do not keep opening the box. Check the state of the ice and the temperature regularly using a thermometer. For short trips it is better to use freezer blocks because they do not give off much water.

9. Put perishable food at the bottom of the cool box straight away and cover with ice or freezer blocks and lay fruit and vegetables on top. Put all food in hermetically sealed containers so that nothing lies in water from melted ice.
10. You need a second cool box for drinks so as to avoid opening the cool box containing food too often.
11. Respect the use-by date which applies to unopened packets. Once opened they have their own specific best before date.

Bacteria contained in food multiply very quickly especially if food is exposed to temperatures between 4°C and 60°C. After two hours, the number of bacteria have multiplied so rapidly that the food is no longer fit for consumption. At that point it is impossible to tell from the smell, taste or appearance of the food in question whether or not it is fit for consumption.

Foodstuffs Storage time
Once opened packets should be stored below 4°C in a fridge

Peanut butter 100% natural 2 months
Marmelade and jam (shop bought) 4-6 months
Cooked ham (sliced or a joint) 3-4 days
Hot dogs 1 week
Sausages and paté, etc. 3-5 days

Processed meat 3-5 days
Chicken (whole or jointed) 2-3 days
Beef, steak, grilling meat 2-4 days
Soup 2-3 days

Milk 3 days
Yoghurt 3 days
Ordinary mustard 1 year
Bacon 7 days

Mayonnaise (shop bought) 2 months
Fresh eggs 3-4 weeks
Meat sauces 3-5 days
Ketchup and marinades 1 year

Source: Camping Caravaning (CA)

Take great care if you are a gas barbecue enthusiast
At the beginning of the summer season, it is timely to warn people about mishandling bottled gas when going away. Accidents often happen when propane and butane gas bottles are being transported or inexpertly handled. Vehicles in which these bottles are not properly stowed and secured can turn into travelling bombs. Propane and butane gas is heavier than air and can accumulate from leaky or damaged gas bottles in the bottom or your vehicle or in the boot (USA trunk). A spark from the central locking system can easily ignite this mix of air and gas and cause an explosion. So gas barbecue enthusiasts should heed the following advice:

° Transport it safely: When transporting gas bottles make sure that the safety valve is properly closed and that the gas bottles are secured by means of straps. Ensure that there is sufficient ventilation so that even if some gas escapes there is no possibility of the dangerous mix igniting i.e. turn on the ventilation or open the side windows! Never leave gas bottles in a vehicle for a long period of time, especially not in the sun.
° Store in a cool place: Gas bottles should be stored in a dry, well ventilated place, preferably out of doors and definitely out of the sun. They should never be left in an enclosed garage or cellar. It can be very dangerous if gas escapes.
° Connect it carefully: A lot of accidents come about because proper care has not been taken when connecting the gas. So you need to read through the manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Before connecting it up, check that the valve is closed and that the black rubber sealing washer on the pressure regulator is close to hand. The pressure regulator turns to the left - never apply force. Make sure that the tubing and seal are not damaged or perished. Always close the valve on the gas bottle after use because the tubing and fittings are never completely airtight. Always close the gas valve even if the bottle is empty because there is almost always some gas left inside.