Meal planning and careful shopping takes time and effort, so once you have made your purchases, you'll want to maximize their nutritional value and freshness.
Test your food storage sense with this true or false quiz:
Food Storage Safety Quiz
1. Freezing food destroys harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
False - Although freezing food does prevent bacteria from growing, the only way to kill bacteria is to cook food to the proper temperature.
2. If canned foods are stored properly they have an unlimited shelf life.
False: Commercially canned and jarred items do have long shelf lives, but food safety rules still apply. Check the "best before" date on canned goods and use the "first in, first out rule." This means that when stocking your pantry, bring older foods to the front and newer purchases to the back. While it is likely safe to eat the food after the "best before date," the quality may deteriorate over time.
3. Raw meat, fish and poultry should be kept separately from other foods in your shopping cart and refrigerator.
True: It's important to separate raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood from other food in your grocery cart and in your refrigerator. This is to make sure that you are not cross-contaminating your food.
4. It’s okay to thaw meat, fish or poultry on the counter.
False: Meat, poultry, fish or seafood should be thawed in the refrigerator, in a microwave or immersed in cold water. Food that has been defrosted in the microwave should be cooked as soon as possible after thawing.
5. Fruits and vegetables can carry the risk of food borne illness, just like any other food.
True: It's important to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them. The skins of some fruits and vegetables such as melons, potatoes and squash can harbour bacteria, viruses and parasites.
6. Always store eggs in their original container in the middle shelf of the refrigerator rather than on the door.
True: The carton helps protect the eggs from damage and from absorbing other food odours. Eggs should not be stored on the refrigerator door because the temperature fluctuates.
7. Leftovers that have been unrefrigerated for more than two hours should be discarded.
True: Throw away any cooked food left out at room temperature for more than two hours. Never rely on your nose, eyes or taste buds to judge the safety of food. You cannot tell if food is contaminated by its look, smell or taste. If in doubt, throw it out.
Here are some more food safety tips:
- Safe Food Handling: Your Interactive Guide
- Fight Bac - Keep Food Safe From Bacteria
- Watch our VIDEO "Shopping Sense - Storing Food Safely" for more great tips.
SODIUM MATTERS IN FOOD SAFETY
- Shelf-stable sauces, processed meats, cheese and brined (pickled) vegetables rely in part on salt (sodium chloride) and other sodium compounds to preserve food and keep it safe.
- The best strategy to reduce sodium intake from these foods is to include them sparingly in family meals.
- For more information, check out Foodborne Illness and Safe Food Handling and Food Safety and Recall Alerts.