05/28/2012 12:36 EDT | Updated 07/28/2012 05:12 EDT

Tips for keeping cooler cool and food safe and fresh when picnicking

There are several tricks to ensure your cooler stays cool and the food in it remains safe and fresh:

— Never put a cooler in the trunk but transport it in the passenger area of a vehicle where it can benefit from air conditioning.

— When you get to the picnic site, remove the cooler from the car and set it in the shade.

— Pack drinks or non-perishable snacks in a separate cooler so you don't have to open the one containing the food.

— Refrigerate all planned picnic foods so they're cold before you pack them in a cooler.

— Never take home leftovers from a picnic. Discard any prepared food not eaten.

Source: Dave Pavletic, food safety manager, Middlesex London Health Unit.