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Fresh shrimp can make wonderful additions to any party or picnic. Whether the shrimp are raw or just cooked, you have to use caution when transporting or storing the shrimp in a cooler. When kept in a cooler without proper refrigeration, shrimp can develop scombrotoxin or histamine, which can cause illness in anyone who eats the shrimp. With a few cleaning and cooling techniques, you can keep your fresh shrimp in a cooler to transport it or store it for a short period of time before cooking, eating and enjoying it.
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Clean your cooler thoroughly with hot, soapy water before you put the shrimp inside. A clean cooler is important, especially if you have used the cooler to transport or store shrimp or other fish before, which could have left harmful bacteria in the cooler. After washing and rinsing the cooler, let it air dry before using it.
Put cooler cold packs or several inches of ice into the bottom of the cooler. The amount of ice you put in with in part depend on how much shrimp you need to fit into the cooler, but as a general rule, make sure that the cold packs or ice is stacked several inches above the cooler bottom. This will keep the interior of the cooler refrigerated for a longer period of time.
Keep the cooler that contains the shrimp in the shade and never in direct sunlight. ALso, keep the cooler's lid closed for as long as possible, preferably only opening it when you are ready to eat or cook the shrimp.
Store cooked shrimp that you want to serve cold on plates or platters inside of the cooler, only opening the cooler to serve more shrimp.
Shrimp should never sit at room temperatures for more than two hours. If the outdoor temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Shrimp can quickly grow harmful bacterial within one hour.