Script: Safe Storage of Food
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service
Food Safety at home podcast series. These podcasts were
designed with you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and
prepares meat, poultry and processed egg products for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging
from safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and
processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods safe
during a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to "Food Safety at Home”. My name is Gertie Hurley from the Food Safety
Education Staff of FSIS. I’m your host for this week’s segment. With me today is Kathy
Bernard, from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. Today we will talk about proper
storage of food which is essential to prevent foodborne illness. You can't see harmful
bacteria. You can't smell it or taste it, but it can make you sick. As a consumer,
safe food storage begins while shopping for the food.
Kathy, could you give us a few tips on the proper storage of food?
Certainly, when shopping purchase refrigerated or frozen foods after
selecting non-perishables such as canned goods.
Never choose meat or poultry in packaging that is torn or leaking. Put raw packaged
meat, poultry, or seafood into a plastic bag before placing it into the shopping cart.
That’s right, you don't want the juices to drip on other foods and contaminate them.
Also, don’t buy food past "sell-by," "use-by," or other expiration dates.
Kathy, what do we need to know about transporting food?
Remember that perishable foods require refrigeration within two hours. Pick them up
last. Plan to go directly home from the grocery store. When you can’t go straight home
or if the temperature is hot, take a cooler with ice or another cold source to
transport your perishable foods safely.
should food be left at room temperature?
Always refrigerate perishable foods within two hours of purchasing or cooking. If the
temperature outside is above 90 °f refrigerate the food within one hour.
Okay, we’ve learned what to do when shopping and what to do when transporting food.
What about when you arrive home?
When you get home, check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an
The refrigerator should be at 40 °f or below and the freezer at 0 °f or below.
Perishable food such as meat and poultry should be wrapped securely to maintain
quality and to prevent meat juices from dripping onto other food.
Can you freeze meat and poultry in its original packaging?
You can maintain quality when freezing meat and poultry in its original package. Just
wrap the package again with foil or plastic wrap that’s recommended for the freezer
unless otherwise instructed on the package.
How about storing food?
Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours, 1 hour when temperature is above 90
°f. Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats such as liver
and chitterlings, within two days. Cook or freeze beef, veal, lamb, or pork, within
three to five days.
In general, high-acid canned food such as tomatoes, grapefruit, and pineapple can be
stored on the shelf for 12 to 18 months. Low-acid canned food such as meat, poultry,
fish, and most vegetables will keep two to five years — if the can remains in good
condition and has been stored in a cool, clean, and dry place. Throw away cans that
are dented, leaking, bulging, or rusted.
What about leftovers?
When you have leftovers:
Throw away any food left out at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if
the temperature was above 90 °f).
Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the
refrigerator. Use cooked leftovers within four days.
That's it for this week. We have been talking to Kathy Bernard, from the USDA Meat and
Poultry Hotline, of the Food Safety Education Staff at FSIS. Thank you Kathy.
I’m Gertie Hurley and I’d like to thank you for joining us for this episode of "Food
Safety at Home" and remember, “be food safe.”
Well, that’s all for this time. Thanks for joining us today
for another episode of food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free
meat and poultry hotline at 1-888-mphotline. That’s
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our
virtual representative "ask karen" at www.askkaren.gov .
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your
comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for tuning in.
Last Modified: May 27, 20088