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HEALTHY

Do You Store Food Correctly?

Foodborne illness can be prevented by storing food properly in the refrigerator, freezer or cupboard.

The main goal is to avoid getting sick due to bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli and C. Botulinum which causes botulism. Keep food cold and at the correct temperature to prevent harmful bacteria from growing.

Follow these food storage tips to avoid foodborne illness.

 

Basic Storage

Use the Right Away to Refrigerate or Frozen Perishables

Follow the Do not leave meat, poultry or seafood at room temperature for longer than two hours.

The same goes for leftovers, doggie bags and restaurant food. When you store food, make sure that the freezer or fridge is not so full it can’t breathe.

Maintain Proper Temperature

Make sure your fridge is not above 40deg F (-4deg C). The freezer temperature should be 0deg F. (-18degC). Ensure that you check the temperature regularly. Appliance thermometers can be inexpensive and are the best way to double check your temperature.

Labels are Important

Labels will tell you what to store. Other than meat, dairy, and vegetables, there are other things that should be kept cool. It’s best to throw away anything you forgot to put in the refrigerator.

Eat Ready-to-Eat Foods Immediately

Eat foods that have already been cooked as soon as you can. Ready to eat foods, such as luncheon meats that can be stored in the refrigerator, should be consumed as soon as they are available. Listeria is a bacteria that can make people sick. The longer the food is kept in the refrigerator, the more likely it is to grow.

Watch out for signs of spoiled food

Watch out for food that has gone bad. Throw away anything that looks or smells strange. Food that is moldy has probably gone bad. Even in cold areas, it can grow. Mold is not a health hazard, but it can ruin the taste of food. It’s best to toss out food with mold.

Practice Safe Hygiene and Food Practices

You can also reduce your risk of becoming sick by keeping your hands, surfaces and produce clean. Separate raw food from foods that are ready to eat and cook at safe temperatures.

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