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Guidelines For The Safe Handling, Cooking And Storage Of Food

Guidelines For Safe Home Storage Of Food

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Keep your refrigerator/freezer cold and clean.

  • Use an appliance thermometer to verify the temperatures of your refrigerator and freezer. Recommended temperatures are:
    • The refrigerator should be between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • The freezer should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect your refrigerator and freezer. For example, once a week, wipe the refrigerator with a solution of 1 part household bleach to 10 parts water.

Immediately as soon as you get home, refrigerate or freeze perishable items.

  • The coolness helps slow the growth of harmful bugs.
  • Refrigerate or freeze when appropriate, food items such as meat, poultry, eggs, seafood and other perishable items.

Store foods appropriately. Store raw meats, seafood and poultry in plastic bags you can close, covered plates, or food storage containers with closable lids. This will prevent any juices from dripping onto other foods in your refrigerator.

  • Store eggs in the body of the refrigerator, not in the door.
  • Store canned goods in a cool, clean dry place that avoids extreme heat or cold.
  • Keep foods away from cleaning supplies.
  • Do not store any foods directly under a sink.
  • Arrange food so that cool can circulate around it.

Watch dates. 

  • Do not eat food beyond the "use by" date on the package if there is one or if the food seems to be "off.".
  • Don't rely on the sniff test. Food that does not smell bad, could still be harmful. The USDA publishes guidelines about how long you can safely store a long list of foods. See: offsite link or Tel.: 888.674.6854
  • Wash your hands immediately after touching food that may be spoiled.

Throw out:

  • Eggs with cracked shells
  • Food or containers with any mold present
  • Freezer-bu rned foods

Wash reusable grocery bags in hot water.  Grocery bags can be a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria. Harmful bacteria can either be transferred to food directly, or indirectly by transfer onto your hands or kitchen counter tops.  


  • Keep food storage areas clean.
  • Throw out any cans that have signs of spoilage, including bulges, leaks, cracks or deep dents in the seam area.
  • Use home-canned foods within one year of canning.

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