January 2010 Safety Tip

Food Storage Tips

  • Set the temperature below 40 degrees, using a refrigerator thermometer found in hardware and home-supply stores. Place the thermometer in the center of the middle shelf and check it regularly.
  • Keep your refrigerator clean. Immediately wipe up spills with hot, soapy water and rinse.
  • Refrigerate or freeze meat and poultry the minute you get home from the store.
  • Thaw foods in the refrigerator; under cold, running water; or in a microwave right before cooking. Because at room temperature their is a risk high risk for bacterial contamination, avoid using a counter top for thawing food. Remember, the danger zone is 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Make it a weekly habit to throw out expired foods that you no longer should eat.
  • Divide leftovers into small portions and store them in shallow, tightly sealed containers (two inches deep or less).
  • Date leftovers so you know how long they've been in the refrigerator. A good rule to follow is to discard cooked leftovers after four days.
  • Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible, and don't store perishable foods like milk or eggs in the door. Store eggs in their carton on an inside shelf.
  • Remember the two-hour rule for prompt refrigeration. Perishable leftovers from a meal should not stay out of the refrigerator more than two hours. In hot weather (90 degrees Fahrenheit or above), this time is reduced to one hour.
  • Before you leave your house for a trip try placing an ice cube in a sandwich bag and place it in your freezer. This is a great way to tell if the power has gone out while you were away. If you come back to a ice blob instead of an ice cube, you can safely assume that all your perishables need to be thrown out.
    Other ways to tell if your power has gone out while you were away are:
    • The scoop marks have disappeared from the ice cream.
    • Frozen vegetables are a solid clump.