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How to keep groceries safe in a hot car

With the humid Florida weather always putting food at risk, News4Jax and Consumer Reports show you how to keep your food safe from the grocery store to home.
With the humid Florida weather always putting food at risk, News4Jax and Consumer Reports show you how to keep your food safe from the grocery store to home.

Many of us are experiencing record-breaking heat this summer. We might not like it, but bacteria love it because it speeds their growth, and on food that can lead to food poisoning. So how can you safely get your groceries home when the heat is on?

Consumer Reports’ food-safety experts reveal some simple tips to save your food and keep your cool.

Step 1 is planning ahead to avoid the heat. Try to shop in the morning, when it’s cooler. Insulated bags with cold packs are great for keeping cold and frozen items chilled until you get them home.

Meat, poultry and fish are at the highest risk for food poisoning, so don’t let them sit in your cart while you shop. Ask for a bag of ice at the fish counter. And to avoid cross-contamination, you should bag meats separately.

Many people go to several grocery stores in a single trip. If you make multiple stops, make your last stop where you buy your meat and poultry. That way, you minimize the amount of time these foods spend unrefrigerated.

CR auto experts say the best way to cool down a hot car is to open all the windows, turn on the A/C, and crank up the fan once you start driving. Once the cold air starts to flow, close the front windows, but leave the back ones partly open for about 20 seconds. This will allow the hot air to escape out the back of your car.

And when you get home, Consumer Reports says don’t dawdle. Unpack and put your perishables away as soon as possible, especially on hot days.