During a move, in the rush and stress of getting things ready, many people actually forget the contents of their refrigerator, their pantry, or their overstocked food items. Those moving often don't want to make others sick, but they don't want to throw out all of their food either. What is safe to take, and what is recommended to throw away? Make your last grocery shopping trip about two weeks before the big move and utilize the following guides in food safety and travel preparation.
It is really not recommended to try to transport cold items for the reasons of food safety. Frozen foods, defrosted meats, eggs, open condiments, and other cold items should not be attempted to be transported in a move. This is because of the food "danger zone". Bacteria and other germs will grow anywhere between 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 135 degrees Fahrenheit. In the food industry, a great deal of infrastructure and testing is dedicated to avoiding this zone.
Sometimes, for very short moves, people attempt to move these cold items. It is very difficult to move items like this using a cooler - and if this must happen for whatever reason, bring a thermometer because the container must stay colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If the cooler is warmer than 41 degrees Fahrenheit, then the entirety of the contents must be thrown out. One might ask how individuals camp with food in their coolers. Unfortunately, a great deal of people get sick with food poisoning in the summer months, when coolers are in the highest use for barbecues and camping. If you have to travel with a cooler, make sure to separate cooked meat, uncooked meat, types of meat, cheese, and produce utilizing plastic bags.
Foodborne illness is nasty business. No sane person wants to get violently sick in a way that's preventable, and yet approximately 48 million people get sick every year in the United States by contaminated food. Often the symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, but diseases and bacteria in food can also be quite serious. Salmonella, E. coli, and Hepatitis A can all be severe and life-threatening depending on the vulnerability of the person. Pregnant women, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses need to be especially careful.
Speaking of vulnerable groups, when packing food, be wary of those in the family with food allergies or hypoglycemia. Diabetics will need medicines and snacks for the car. If someone is traveling with a severe food allergy, be mindful of boxes of those items in the car for travel. Also, again, be mindful of the groups that are vulnerable to food illness. If traveling with a small child, it may be their first time going into a highway rest stop, making judgments about food sanitation, or encountering new food items. Make sure they also understand food safety, and can report on any allergy or food illness symptoms they may have.
So, what can be safely brought with you during a move? Spices, dried food boxes (like cereal, crackers and pasta), sealed beverages or chips, flour and sugar in sealed bags, sealed jars, and cans are generally recommended items that can be moved. Be careful not to over pack these boxes, as boxes filled with cans are often difficult to carry. If you have an overabundance of fruit before moving, and you have enough time beforehand, you may try to attempt to preserve the fruit or veggies using the instructions below, so that they may be brought as well.
In order to be extra-safe, many people simply throw out a lot of food. But having some food is important. Packing snacks is necessary, especially when considering hungry children, diabetics, or pregnant women who need more regular sustenance. So, when allowed enough time to prepare, be sure to bring at least some safe-travel food items like dried fruit, nuts (be wary of peanuts), energy bars, or popcorn.
Now you know what food you should pack, and what food you shouldn't. Note that rules are very different for moving families who travel by plane. Security checkpoints at airlines only allow for certain foods and gifts, and generally the rule of thumb is to not bring food with you, but to buy items in the terminal. For families traveling by car, remember to pack other items and goods like extra medicines, a first aid kit, flashlights, and a vehicle safety kit that can help you in situations of a broken-down vehicle.Margarita Hakobyan
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