Add thermal compresses to your bags. Pack in aluminum foil if needed. You can help keep donated food safe by transporting it to your pantry in a food-safe environment. Handling and storing food properly will help keep food safe for guests to enjoy.
Proper temperature control is key to maintaining the safety of perishable foods, such as fresh produce, ready meals, meats, eggs and dairy products. The danger zone is the temperature range between 40°F and 140°F. This is the temperature range in which harmful bacteria grow most rapidly. When transporting potentially hazardous foods, they should be kept cold (5 °C or less) or warm (60 °C or more) during the trip.
Alternatively, you can use time, rather than temperature, to keep food safe while it's being transported. See fact sheet 4 Temperature Control for more information. It has a lid that closes to completely prevent spillage, thermal mass to keep it warm for a long time, it can be connected to any electrical outlet if it is necessary to keep it warm once there, a thermometer to measure the temperature of the food inside and a serving spoon that attaches directly to the lid. The materials used to cover food must be suitable for contact with food to ensure that they do not contain any chemicals that could seep into the food.
Food safety regulations are the same as at home, so wash your hands before preparing food outside. Even if there is nowhere to plug in the slow cooker at the destination location, food usually stays quite hot only in the ceramic part (at room temperature). Cold foods should not be above 8°C for more than four hours and hot foods should not be below 63°C for more than two hours. If you travel by car when it's hot, open the doors before you leave to let the heat out, place the food in the coolest place in the car and, if you have it, turn on the air conditioner.
People who travel for about half an hour or less can more safely carry perishable products such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products or foods containing these items. If the trip is longer, you may need to use ice bricks to keep food cold and heat bags to keep it warm. A health policy for volunteers, a sanitation policy, or a food repackaging policy can help ensure that hard-earned food remains safe for distribution. This has worked a lot with frozen foods when I shop in bulk in the city, storing frozen food for 4 hours or more.
Place only preheated or pre-cooled foods in an insulated container, which should have a lid to help maintain a safe temperature. Homemade food is one of the star dishes of the holidays and there is nothing more satisfying than preparing a sumptuous meal with little more than a can opener, a camping stove and a handful of utensils. If you have cold food, place the box on the seat, not on the floor, as the floor will conduct heat from the vehicle to the food. I wrap a large river rock (heated in my oven) in old towels and place it on plastic containers that hold the food inside, inside a LARGE Costco insulating bag.