By Laura Craven
Good food safety practices for your home include grocery shopping and safe storage of food. These steps will require extra time but they are worth following to ensure you only bring fresh, safe food into your kitchen.
- Before you go to the store, make a list with the non-perishables first. If you know your store’s layout, organize the list by aisles and then list the perimeter departments with dairy and meat last.
- Use cart wipes if available or bring your own and wipe all touch points including the handle and cup holder. If using a hand-basket, wipe the handles.
- Check expiration dates or “packaged on” dates and select the freshest items available.
- When selecting packaged produce, inspect the contents to ensure there is no mold. If the container is clear, be sure to check the bottom.
- When selecting loose produce, avoid pieces with dents, bruises, or discolored spots. A tip to tell if fruit is fresh – a fresh piece of fruit will weigh more than a not-so-fresh piece.
- The nose knows! If any food has a bad or unusual smell that is an indication of spoilage.
- Pick up chilled or frozen items last and leave a corner of your cart available for meat. Don’t stack meat, fish, or poultry on top of other grocery items. This helps avoid cross-contamination.
- Use a tissue or paper towel to open cooler doors or self-serve bins.
- Reusable tote bags used to carry food can harbor bacteria. Opt for a clean grocery bag each time.
- Use hand sanitizer after paying at check out and, once you are home, wash your hands before unloading your grocery bags.
- Put perishable items in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
- Store milk and eggs inside the refrigerator compartment, not in the door which is the warmest area.
- Place meat, poultry, and fish in plastic bags to prevent leaks and store on a bottom shelf of your refrigerator or freezer. No need to rinse.
- Rinse fruits and veggies under running water before storing.
- Wipe off cans and cartons before storing. This includes the tops of cans, where you will puncture with a can opener, and the area around the opening of cartons.
This is part 3 in a series of blogs dedicated to sharing food-safety best practices for your home from your friends at Imperial Dade.