Food safety in the grocery store
Preventable food safety practices.
When we think of keeping our food safe we generally think of methods, practices and habits that are used at home. There are indeed some basic tips and practices that consumers can use at the grocery store to aid in food safety for your family. According to the food safety.gov blog there are seven ways to practice food safety in the grocery store.
- The general appearance of the facility is a good indicator of the care the grocery store provides. Glance around the facility just to see if they follow good food handling practices starting with their facility. A good indicator is if the facility appears and smells clean and is free of garbage in food areas.
- Separating different types of foods is also an important way to start food safety practices at the grocery store. Raw meats should be away from ready to eat foods. This can be done by placing the meats in a second bag, usually provided at the meat counter. It is important to keep any chemicals being purchased away from all food products. This could cause a chemical hazard to consumers.
- When purchasing can foods, read the label, look for the use by date or purchase by date. These are indicators that the potential is higher after this date to present a lower quality of product. Do not purchase any item with a crack in a glass jar, bulging lids, dented cans or if the seal appears to be broken or removed.
- Frozen foods should not appear as though they have thawed at any time. This would be indicated by ice crystals that may form on the food item. The packaging shouldn’t be crushed or torn anywhere on the product.
- Perishable items or frozen foods should be added to the cart toward the end of your time in the store. If possible keep frozen foods in an insulated bag to help keep it from thawing too quickly. Perishables should also be kept cool and packaged separately so any leaking of the food item will not contaminate other foods in the cart.
- When purchasing eggs always look at the eggs in the carton. Do not purchase eggs that are dirty, cracked or broke. Refrigeration is important when purchasing eggs. Heat helps bacteria grow, so keep them cool.
- After shopping put food items in their proper storage area as quickly as possible. Foods that are left out for over two hours and the temperature is above 41 degrees Fahrenheit, your food items are in the danger zone for growing bacteria.
Michigan State University Extension says that practicing safe food techniques even at the grocery store aids in keeping your family healthier and can prevent you from contributing to food borne illness within your home. Food safety is an issue that can benefit from preventative methods used while shopping, preparing and serving food.