In the last blog post, we discussed how prevalent are foodborne illnesses, the populations especially vulnerable to this issue. In this post, we will discuss some safe food-handling practices while we are at the grocery store.
Sometimes, grocery shopping means just filling our carts with foods and going along to the next errand of the day. But, there are some best practices to follow for food safety while at the store. Listed below are some suggestions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on food safety practices that should become a habit:
- Place raw packaged meat, poultry, or seafood into a plastic bag before you place the item into your cart so that juices will not drip or cross-contaminate the other food items.
- Take the time to read the food labels in the store to make sure the food is not past its “sell by” date. Open dating is primarily found on perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy.
- Purchase only pasteurized milk, cheese, and other dairy products from the refrigerated section.
- When purchasing fruit juice from the refrigerated section, be sure that the label says it is pasteurized.
- Purchase eggs in the shell from the refrigerated section and store the eggs in their original carton when you arrive home. Place the carton in the main body of your refrigerator and not in the door.
- Never buy food displayed in unclean or unsafe conditions.
- Canned goods should not have any dents, cracks or bulging lids. Remember the FIFO (First In, First Out) method of storing your canned items. And, rinse off the lid before opening the can.
- Purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged, and put unwrapped produce in plastic bags before placing into the cart.
- Pick up perishable food items last, and plan to go directly home from the store.
- Refrigerate perishables within two hours of either purchasing or cooking, or within one hour if the outside temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Consider taking a cooler with ice packs to transport your food items in hot weather.
- Wash your hands when you arrive home and begin unpacking your groceries.
Remember, we are all vulnerable to a foodborne illness. So, “WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!“