Top Refrigerator Food Safety Tips You Need to Know

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December 03, 2014

Top Refrigerator Food Safety Tips You Need to Know

The refrigerator is one of the most important things in your kitchen when it comes to food safety. Here are some tips to make sure you are refrigerating and freezing foods properly.

The refrigerator is one of the most important things in your kitchen when it comes to food safety. Bacteria exist everywhere. If kept at the appropriate temperature, your refrigerator slows the growth of bacteria. Here are some tips to make sure you are refrigerating and freezing foods properly.

Make sure the refrigerator temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, and 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below in the freezer. Occasionally verify these temperatures using an appliance thermometer.

Never defrost or marinate food at room temperature. Use the refrigerator. You can also thaw foods in airtight packaging in cold water (change the water every 30 minutes, so the food continues to thaw). Or, thaw in the microwave if you’ll be cooking the food immediately.

Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.

Don’t over-stuff the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate to keep food safe.

Storing these foods in the fridge when you shouldn't can prematurely age, or alter their flavor, or make them go moldy faster. Here's the list: Tomatoes, Potatoes, Onions, Coffee, Honey

Time Limits for Food Storage courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture:

Soups and Stews, vegetable or meat: refrigerator: 3-4 days, freezer: 2-3 months

Ham fully cooked whole: refrigerator: 7 days, freezer: 1-2 months

Ham fully cooked sliced: refrigerator: 3-4 days, freezer: 1-2 months

Fresh uncooked meat: refrigerator: 3-5 days, freezer: 6-12 months

Leftover meat: refrigerator: 3-4 days, freezer: 2-3 months

Gravy and meat broth: refrigerator: 1-2 days, freezer: 2-3 months

Fresh raw poultry: refrigerator: 1-2 days, freezer: 12 months

Cooked poultry: refrigerator: 3-4 days, freezer: 3 months

Cooked poultry with broth/gravy: refrigerator: 1-2 days, freezer: 3 months