Header image credit: Natalie Dee
Eating food can be difficult. That sounds like a silly thing to say, but it’s true! Most of the time the food we buy goes bad the moment it sits in a hot car too for long and we don’t even know it. Other times the food was off in the store, and how are you supposed to know if your milk has gone bad when there’s a seal on it?
When you’re a kid, this is less worrisome because at least you have your parents looking out for you, but when you’re an adult? Things change, you have to look out for yourself!
Have you ever looked in your compost bin after weeks of not taking it out because you were too lazy? Yeah, it gets nasty. All of that was food you planned on eating once!
If you’re anything like me, then these 8 food safety tips given by the USDA and other food inspection organizations will help you steer clear of food poisoning in the future when you forget what temperature your fridge should always be at. And, if you already know all of these, well, it never hurts to refresh your memory anyway.
- Always refrigerate your perishable items within 2 hours. It goes down to 1 hour when the temperature outside is above 90°F (32.2ºC)
- Make sure that you check the actual temperature of your fridge with an appliance thermometer. Your fridge could be broken and you don’t even know it. Always ensure your fridge is at 40°F (4.4ºC) or below. Your freezer should always be at 0°F or -17.7ºC.
- If you eat fresh meat such as poultry, fish and ground meat, make sure that you wrap it well to maintain quality and store it in the fridge. Wrapping it will also prevent it from getting into contact with liquids like juice in your fridge. Ensure that you cook it within 2 days or keep it in the freezer if you still haven’t cooked it after the second day. This extends from 3 to 5 days for sliced beef, veal, lamb, or pork.
- Ensure that you get rid of any of your canned foods that have dents, or swollen containers. These are usually good indefinitely but can go bad if exposed to freezing temperatures or temperatures above 90 °F. A good rule: If the cans look okay, then they are safe to use.
- If you have left overs that you would want to eat later, part them in shallow containers and immediately store in the fridge or freezer. Do not forget to discard any food that has been left out at room temperature more than 2 hours. Note that, this changes to 1 hour if the temperature was above 90°F. Also, make sure to use all cooked leftovers within four days and always reheat your leftovers to 165°F or 73.9ºC.
- Always discard any food that has been left out at room temperature more than 2 hours. However, this changes to 1 hour if the temperature was above 90°F. Also, make sure to use all cooked leftovers within four days and always endeavor to reheat your leftovers to 165°F or 73.9ºC.
- If you are the kind of person that loves to eat frozen dinners, you can keep those in your freezer up to 3 to 4 months. Do not keep them in the fridge; they aren’t meant to be there and they will harbor bacteria.
- Ever seen that white film on chocolate? Yeah, apparently that’s not too big of an issue. It just means that fat has deposited on the front of the chocolate bar, but considering we all know how fattening chocolate already is that’s not too much of a deterrent!