My colleague, Jasmynn Lahner, works in food service and offered to write a post to share her tips for keeping your food free from bacteria and reduce the risk of foodborne diseases at home.
My approach to nutrition is quite laid back and these are not meant to be used as strict rules or guidelines but to educate you and help prevent your dinner guests from getting sick.
Each year 1 in 6 Americans get sick from a foodborne illness. While many think this can only happen at restaurants and public food service establishments, foodborne diseases can also be carried in homemade foods. Certain populations with weaker immune systems are at an increased risk of acquiring a foodborne illness, including pregnant women, older adults, and newborns.
You likely know that you shouldn't use the same knife and cutting board you used to prepare your raw meat when you cut your veggies, but how do you properly store your leftovers or transport food on a hot day? Read on for Jasmynn's tips to improve food safety at the store and in your home. Check out her blog (linked below) for more nutrition information and tips.
Guest Post By: Jasmynn Lahner
Food safety isn’t just important during food preparation, food safety should be implemented at grocery stores, in the car, and at home.
In the Grocery Store
Most grocery stores provide hand sanitizer and wipes near the entrance. Use these to stanitize both your hands and your cart. If sampling foods, clean your hands.
Inspect food packages - do not purchase any food packages with punctures, tears and/or visible damages.
Avoid purchasing foods with lids that are loose or appear to have been opened.
Choose canned goods that are not dented or bulging. Cans that are visibly dented or bulging may be a sign of botulism, a foodborne illness that is potentially fatal.
Separate raw meats, poultry, and seafood from fresh produce and other goods. Place the raw meats in the bags to prevent leaking.
At checkout, bag and separate raw meats, poultry, and seafoods from raw produce and other foods.
In the Car
Do not let perishable items stay in the car more than 30 minutes. If you have a long to-do list, make sure grocery shopping is last on the list!
During the summer, place perishable items in an air conditioned car. Placing foods in the trunk in the heat may increase chances of spoilage.
Bring a cooler with ice or a chill pack if you do not plan to go straight home after grocery shopping. Perishable foods can be stored for up to two hours in a cooler.
Refrigerate perishable foods items quickly, put them away first.
Store raw meats, poultry, and seafood on the bottom shelf to avoid dripping or leaking onto other foods.
Avoid overcrowding the refrigerator, this will decrease the cold air circulation which may ultimately increase spoilage.
- Store your leftovers in airtight containers to help keep bacteria out.
- After wrapping leftovers, immediately place them in the refrigerator for rapid cooling.
- Smaller, shallow containers are best as larger containers take longer to cool.
- Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or frozen for 3 to 4 months (frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when stored longer).
Follow these steps to ensure a safe shopping experience from start to finish. You can find tips on how to create your perfect grocery list, here.
Jasmynn Lahner is a registered dietitian nutritionist located in San Antonio, Texas. Her goal is the help people live their best lives through tailored nutrition services and education through grocery store tours, nutrition education, and nutrition coaching. You can learn more about her on her website and blog or follow along on Instagram and Facebook.