- Store foods in cool cabinets or pantries; away from appliances that produce heat.
- Check carefully for “best before” or “use before” dates.
- Many staples and canned foods have relatively long shelf lives, but buy only what you expect to use within the time recommended for each product as indicated on the package.
- Put your own dates on food packages that are not date coded and use the oldest first.
- Warm, humid climates shorten the shelf life of foods.
- Buy packaged food in fresh looking packages.
- Dusty, dented cans or torn labels may be an indication of old stock and can also be a source of botulism.
- Store food in the home refrigerator or in your cooler preferably at temperatures from 34°F – 40°F (1°C – 3°C).
- Frequent opening of the refrigerator door or cooler lid, especially on warm humid days, raises the temperature of the refrigerator or cooler.
- Clean the refrigerator and cooler regularly to cut down on food odors.
- Remove foods that have “gone bad” immediately to prevent spoilage from spreading to other foods.
- The best temperature for frozen food storage is at 0°F to 5°F (-17°C to -15°C).
What to do with Leftovers
- Follow this rule: If there’s a doubt – throw it out!
- Divide leftovers into small units and store in shallow containers for quick cooling.
- Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
- Reheat leftovers thoroughly to a temperature of 165℉ (73.89℃). Bring soups, sauces and gravies to a rolling boil.
Safe Food Storage – Smart Tables
Learn how long food stays fresh in the fridge, freezer, and on the shelf with these quick links to some very smart tables provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA)