The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Con Agra Foods web site, www.homefoodsafety.org, recommends using a refrigerator thermometer to make sure the temperature is between 32-40 degrees F. Your freezer should stay at or below zero.
If packing a cooler, be sure to use plenty of ice and allow room for the ice to surround the food on all sides. Just putting the ice on top is not enough. Keep the cooler in a shaded area and avoid leaving it in a hot car. Only open the cooler when necessary.
If setting cold food out on a buffet for self-serve, fill a large bowl with ice and set the serving dish of food down into it. This will help keep it cold. Food should not sit out more than 2 hours under room temperature conditions or more than 1 hour under warmer conditions. I recommend using multiple small serving dishes. Keep one refrigerated and then replace as needed. This way all of the food is not sitting out at once.
More Answers from Lona Sandon