Food safety and megastores
Think food safety when shopping megastores for bulk food.
Warehouse and mega food stores are attractive and popular when it comes to busy consumers. These stores tend to cater busy shoppers with discounted prices, bulk and convenience foods and household items for quick shopping and easy purchases. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics nearly three out of four Americans shop at one of the hundreds of warehouse club stores nationwide. Michigan State University Extension recommends that you practice food safety during your megastore grocery shopping trip which can help safeguard your food purchases. By following the listed food safety recommendations you are likely to purchase quality food and safely transport it home:
- Inspect your canned foods and check for broken seals. Make sure that canned foods do not have dents, bulges, rust, leaks or bulging lids. These are signs of spoilage and bacteria contamination. Be sure to store canned foods in cool, dry areas.
- Perishable foods – Includes meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs and many raw fruits and vegetables. All cooked foods are considered perishable foods. To store these foods for any length of time, perishable foods need to be stored at refrigerator or freezer temperatures. If refrigerated, perishable foods should be used within several days. In the grocery cart and at home, keep fruits and vegetables separated from raw meat, poultry and seafood to prevent cross-contamination. Once home, store all fresh-cut, ready to eat produce in the refrigerator to keep it cold. Fruit peels might carry bacteria that can spread during eating, cutting or peeling, so always be sure to rinse them first.
- Handling frozen food – Do not purchase frozen foods that have been partially thawed or if it has visible ice crystals inside the packaging, for this could indicate that the product has been thawed and refroze, which can make food unsafe to eat. Food safety experts recommend if freezing meat and poultry in its original package longer than two months, overwrap the packages with airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap or freezer paper, or place the package inside a plastic bag. When handling frozen food remember to purchase foods before the “sell by” or expiration dates and always use the “first in, first out” procedure when selecting food. Following basic home refrigeration and freezer guidelines can help maintain food safety and quality.
- Practice good hand washing – Wash your hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water before, during and after handling food products. This includes when switching from handling raw food to ready-to -eat food, or from one food type of to another.
- Egg food safety – Buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case and follow the directions below.
- Open the carton and make sure that the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked.
- Refrigerate promptly.
- Store eggs in their original carton and use them within three weeks for best quality.
Following these tips, especially when purchasing bulk food in mega stores can help ensure that you do not bring a spoiled food product in your home, and that it is properly stored.