Eating Safely

Frequently Asked Questions

17. How can I store food safely when traveling?

Follow these guidelines to make sure your food is properly stored while traveling.

Plan Ahead

Some foods need to stay refrigerated during your trip while others are safe at room temperature. Before you start packing lunches and snacks, be sure you have plenty of ice or frozen gel packs on hand.

Foods That Need To Chill

  • deli and lunch meat sandwiches
  • cut-up fruits and vegetables
  • perishable dairy products like milk and yogurt
  • raw meat and poultry to be cooked later

Foods That Can Be Left Out

  • peanut butter sandwiches
  • whole fruit
  • crackers, chips, pretzels, nuts, popcorn, candy
  • bread

Pack Your Food Safely

Pack perishable foods directly from the refrigerator to the cooler. Use an insulated cooler or lunch box to help maintain food at a safe temperature throughout your trip. And remember, a full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than one that is partially filled.

Use Clean Hands Only

Multiple people may be digging into the same bag of chips or trail mix throughout your trip. Protect your family from other disease-causing bacteria by keeping hands clean. Soap and water may not always be available so be sure to pack some moist towelettes and hand sanitizer.


If you have any questions, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or visit to chat with a Food Safety Specialist.

For more information see Road Rules for Safety at