Food safety and megastores

Avoid foodborne illness, follow food safety tips when shopping.

More shoppers are opting to purchase their food at big box stores rather than their local grocery stores. Food shoppers are attracted to big box stores because they offer lower prices, bulk, convenient foods and household items that shoppers can buy in one simple trip. Food safety starts wherever you purchase your groceries. Having a storewide safe food shopping guide will protect your food purchases and avoid the risk foodborne illness. Michigan State University Extension recommends that shoppers follow these food safety tips when grocery shopping:

  • Use antibacterial wipes to wipe off the seat and handle of your shopping cart to kill any dirt and bacteria that maybe on the cart. Practice good hand washing - Wash your hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water before, during and after handling food products.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables that are free of bruises or damaged spots and precut fruit and vegetables that are refrigerated or displayed on ice.
  •  Separate fruits and vegetables from raw meat, poultry, and seafood in your shopping cart using the plastic bags supplied in the produce and meat areas.
  • Perishable foods – includes meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables. Once at home, store all perishable foods.
  • Egg food safety  buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case. 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 within 3 weeks for best quality.
  • Do not buy meat or poultry that has a tear in the package or is leaking. These are signs of old or spoiled meat.
  • Do not buy food past the “sell by” or “use by” dates. Checking these dates will make sure that your food is not outdated.
  • Do not buy canned foods if the cans are dented, leaking, bulging, or rusting. These signs allow bacteria to enter the can.  Do not purchase.
  • When buying frozen food do not purchase if they have been partially thawed or have visible ice crystals inside the packaging, this could indicate that the food has been thawed and then refrozen. Pick up your refrigerated and frozen items at the end of your shopping trip, so they are unrefrigerated for a shorter period of time.
  • Drive directly home after you have finished shopping so you can immediately put away all foods properly. If you have a long drive or not going directly home have an ice chest with you to put your perishable foods in until you can get home.

Not only is a shopping list important when buying food, but knowing how to choose safe food, will make your shopping experience not only quick and convenient, but give you the assurance of quality and safe food for you and your family.

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