The modern-day life requires all of us to be well prepared when we step out of our houses.

This includes ensuring we have everything we need while we are travelling to the office, a friend’s place, or the market.

Often, when we are planning to travel in our cars for a long period and do not want to eat anything from outside, packing our meals is the best option we are left with.

Though eating homemade food is a good thing but leaving that food in your car is not a very good idea.

Here is a look at why you should not be doing so and the reasons behind the same.

What happens when you leave food in your car?

To keep food safe, we need to avoid the conditions in which bacteria grow. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 4 degree Celsius and 60 degree Celsius, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. During the summer months, the interior of a closed-up vehicle, particularly in North India, can easily reach 60 degree Celsius.

When you give bacteria the conditions they like warmth, moisture, and nutrients, they will grow. A single bacterium that divides every half hour can result in 17 million offspring in 12 hours. Perishable food can stay safely unrefrigerated only for two hours if the air temperature is under 32 degree Celsius and only for one hour if the temperature is 32 degree Celsius or higher.

Ways to keep food safe in your car

As mentioned above, food takes very less time to get spoiled when left in the car. Also, groceries are not something to be left in the car as well. Overall, cooked food or the ingredients (groceries) used to make them – both should not be left in the car. Here are some ways to keep food safe in your car.

Think about keeping a cooler, cold packs, or insulated bags in your car for perishable items.

Buy a bag of ice if you need to for keeping cold stuff cold and frozen stuff frozen on the way home. Or, bring some frozen gel packs with you.

When it’s hot outside, take your perishable items straight home. If you know you can’t go straight home follow the above-mentioned steps to keep your purchases cool or buy food that doesn’t need refrigeration.

Think about your route and how many errands you have to do. Stop at the dry-cleaners or for coffee before grocery shopping, not afterwards when your groceries will have to sit in the car.

Food left behind in car can damage it

Any food left in a hot vehicle over time will make it stink. Also, frozen foods like ice creams will turn runny as they defrost, making a sticky mess. Any food that should melt and seep into the open USB ports can lead to connection issues. Coffee and soda left in the centre console by the transmission shifter can spill into it causing issues with getting it in and out of gear.