Safe food starts at the grocery store

Keep your food safe while shopping.

Here you go, off to the grocery store again. Grocery shopping can seem like a never-ending task. It is important to utilize budgeting tips and meal planning skills at the grocery store to ensure healthy and balanced meals for yourself and/or family. Good food safety practices also begin at the grocery store. Keeping cold foods cold and preventing cross contamination are essential keys to keeping your food safe. Cross contamination is the transfer of harmful bacteria to food from other foods, surfaces, utensils or hands. As you maneuver through the aisles at your favorite grocery store, it is critical to follow a few tips to ensure the safety of the food you take home.

Food safety tips at the grocery store:

  • Choose the cold foods like poultry, dairy products, eggs and meats last on your way through the store.
  • Examine the Use-By and Sell-By dates to be sure food is not expired.
  • Open the egg carton and look for unbroken and clean eggs.
  • Inspect fresh produce and avoid those with bruises or damaged pieces.
  • Place poultry, meat and seafood in plastic bags before putting them in the cart.
  • Do not choose meat or poultry packages that are torn or leaking.
  • Keep raw meat, seafood and poultry separate from other items in the cart.

Other food safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Go home after grocery shopping. It is a good idea to always make the grocery store your last stop before heading home. Perishable foods need to be refrigerated within two hours of purchase. If the temperatures outside are 90 degrees, then foods should be refrigerated within an hour.
  • Take the time to put the groceries away as soon as you arrive home. This will guarantee cold foods are back in refrigeration and keep them safe for consumption.

Keeping food safe before it even enters your kitchen is the first step to enjoying many safe family meals at home.

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