Chill your food right
Keeping your refrigerator and freezer at the right temperatures will help prevent harmful illness.
Michigan State University Extension and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety recommends consumers to follow the four cornerstones of food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill. All are important factors to keeping food safe and preventing food poisoning.
Let’s talk about chilling food. The temperature in the refrigerator should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below and the freezer 0 degrees F or below. In addition to keeping the refrigerator at the correct temperature, it is important to avoid overpacking
Perishable food should be thawed in the refrigerator, microwave or in cold water. Food should never be thawed on the counter or in hot water. Food that is thawed in the microwave or in cold water should be cooked immediately. Always refrigerate food within two hours of preparation.
Consider the following important information when chilling large amounts of food, like soup or chili: food should be divided into smaller, shallow food safe containers. Small containers allow the food to cool more quickly to keep it safe from the growth of harmful pathogens. It is also a good idea to cut large items of cooked meat and poultry into smaller portions or slices. Place in shallow containers, cover and refrigerate. This will reduce the chance of the food staying in the temperature danger zone.
It is important to know and practice safe food handling behaviors to keep you and your safe from food poisoning. The FDA and MSU Extension recommend using and discarding refrigerated food on a regular basis. Consumers can use this handy chart as a resource, to assist them at home.