Don’t forget about Food Safety while Hiking
Enjoying the great outdoors and maintaining food safety can be a challenge during different seasons. Don’t let an unwelcome case of food borne illness ruin your adventure.
Keep Hot foods hot and Cold foods cold – sounds simple enough but depending upon the length of your hike this may be challenging. Bacteria can double in population every 20 minutes; dangerous levels can be reached in as little as 2 hours (1 hour on a 90°F day).
- Freeze food overnight if possible – freeze juice boxes or water bottles, they will keep other foods cold while they thaw.
- Freezer packs will keep cold foods cool on hot days
- Pack non-perishable foods – peanut butter; crackers; trail mix; canned tuna, ham, chicken or beef; bring commercially sealed packets of mayonnaise. Dehydrated foods and dried meats (beef jerky), along with “dry” cheeses (Romano) do not require refrigeration and make great hiking foods.
- Pack fresh fruits and vegetables that don’t require refrigeration – carrots, apples, pears, banana’s, etc.
- If transporting raw meat, fish or poultry – double bag it, in order to prevent raw juices from coming into contact with other foods. And pack these items only if you have a reliable means to keep them cold (below 41°F)
- Wash your hands before and after handling food. Bring enough water and biodegradable soap for hand washing or pack disposable wipes or lliquid hand sanitizer.
- Remember to leave nothing behind. Pack out what you pack in.
Safe Drinking Water – do not rely on fresh water from a lake or stream for drinking – most natural water sources are contaminated parasites, bacteria or viruses.
- Bring bottled water fro drinking
- If you need to drink lake or stream water the safest way to kill microorganisms is to boil the water first. Water purifications tablets and water filters can be used as an alternative to boiling. Purification tablets kill most waterborne bacteria, viruses and some (but not all) parasites. Cryptosporidium pram, Giardia lambda and larger bacteria are not killed by purification tables, you must also use a water filter. Use a 1 micron absolute or smaller water filtering device. Remember water purification tablets lose their potency over time so keep a fresh supply.