Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates

Posts tagged ‘food safety’

Food Safety: Storage Times


Frozen foods retain their safety almost indefinitely. They do however, lose quality. Refrigerated foods have a safe storage window, after which they can spoil and cause food poisoning. Here is a chart for refrigerator and freezer storage times, from food safety.gov. Below is a separate chart for eggs in various forms.

Category Food Refrigerator
(40 °F or below) Freezer
(0 °F or below)
Salads Egg, chicken, ham, tuna & macaroni salads 3 to 5 days Does not freeze well
Hot dogs opened package 1 week 1 to 2 months
unopened package 2 weeks 1 to 2 months
Luncheon meat opened package or deli sliced 3 to 5 days 1 to 2 months
unopened package 2 weeks 1 to 2 months
Bacon & Sausage Bacon 7 days 1 month
Sausage, raw — from chicken, turkey, pork, beef 1 to 2 days 1 to 2 months
Hamburger & Other Ground Meats Hamburger, ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb, & mixtures of them 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork Steaks 3 to 5 days 6 to 12 months
Chops 3 to 5 days 4 to 6 months
Roasts 3 to 5 days 4 to 12 months
Fresh Poultry Chicken or turkey, whole 1 to 2 days 1 year
Chicken or turkey, pieces 1 to 2 days 9 months
Soups & Stews Vegetable or meat added 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months
Leftovers Cooked meat or poultry 3 to 4 days 2 to 6 months
Chicken nuggets or patties 3 to 4 days 1 to 3 months
Pizza 3 to 4 days 1 to 2 months

Egg Storage Chart

Product Refrigerator Freezer
Raw eggs in shell 3 to 5 weeks Do not freeze. Instead, beat yolks and whites together; then freeze.
Raw egg whites 2 to 4 days 12 months
Raw egg yolks 2 to 4 days Yolks do not freeze well.
Raw egg accidentally frozen in shell Use immediately after thawing. Keep frozen; then
refrigerate to thaw.
Hard-cooked eggs 1 week Do not freeze.
Egg substitutes, liquid
Unopened 10 days 12 months
Egg substitutes, liquid
Opened 3 days Do not freeze.
Egg substitutes, frozen
Unopened After thawing, 7 days or refer to “Use-By” date. 12 months
Egg substitutes, frozen
Opened After thawing, 3 days or refer to “Use-By” date. Do not freeze.
Casseroles with eggs 3 to 4 days After baking, 2 to 3 months.
Eggnog
Commercial 3 to 5 days 6 months
Eggnog
Homemade 2 to 4 days Do not freeze.
Pies
Pumpkin or pecan 3 to 4 days After baking, 1 to 2 months.
Pies
Custard and chiffon 3 to 4 days Do not freeze.
Quiche with filling 3 to 4 days After baking, 1 to 2 months.
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Wash Your Fruits and Vegetables


It may not occur to you to wash your produce, but think about it: It comes from the field and may be commercially washed BEFORE it is handled by packers, is transported in dirty trucks, then handled by market workers and shoppers testing for ripeness. Maybe even sneezed on. UGH!

A Tennessee State University study found that the home vegetable bin is the dirtiest part of the refrigerator! There may be up to 2 million bacteria per gram, yeast, mold and other germs on a head of lettuce! What to do?

Wash with tap water to cut bacteria up to 98%.

Fruits and vegetables with edible skin should be washed under running water for 30-60 seconds according to Brendan Niemira, P.hD., a scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Use fingers or a soft vegetable brush and the water will carry away any bacteria.

If there is an inedible peel, use a sturdier brush and wash for the same length of time. Even though you won’t be eating the skin, piercing it to cut it up will introduce whatever is on the outside, onto the edible portion.

Food Safety After a Hurricane


The big news along the Eastern seaboard is the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. While some people suffered losses, even a few deaths, the end result was more mild than originally predicted.  Because warnings started early and were dire, people and communities were more prepared and able to get out of harm’s way and protect their property as best as possible. Today’s post addresses what to do with refrigerated and frozen food vulnerable to spoilage due to power outages.

Traditional wisdom always told us, “When in doubt, throw it out!” This is good advice. No matter how good your sense of taste and/or smell are, all pathogens cannot be detected by our senses.

Experts in food safety agree that food can be safely eaten up to four hours after the power goes out, but depends on several factors: the temperature of the refrigerator (and therefore the food) when the power was lost, how many times the doors are opened and the volume of food in there at the start. The fuller the refrigerator, the longer the food will keep. Freezers will hold food safely for 24-48 hours, also subject to the above conditions.

If the power loss exceeds these times, the safest course of action is to throw the food out. Cooking does not kill all bacteria and pathogens. The risk of poisoning from tainted food is not worth taking to preserve a financial investment. Food poisoning can kill vulnerable populations such as the very young, the old or those with chronic disease.

If food is exposed to flood waters, it too should be discarded. The source or path of the flood water likely contains toxic substances at worst and unclean water at best.

For more information, visit the USDA’s web page:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Keeping_Food_Safe_During_an_Emergency/index.asp

Natural, Organic or Processed?


Since much of the terminology used in food advertising is not regulated, manufacturers are able to make very misleading claims. To understand better some of the definitions and limitations to the truth about these claims, see this article:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Natural+doesn+mean+good/5303918/story.html

While organic food is defined with a little more integrity, it is not cut and dried. Also, organic is more expensive, so save your dollars for when it really counts. Eating your fruits and vegetables is important to your health – and usually overshadows the risks posed by pesticides. For the most part, fruits and vegetables with a thick skin or rind that will be peeled can be safely consumed. In any case, always wash the surface before breaking the skin or you risk getting bacteria from the outside on the part you will consume.

Each year, a list of the cleanest and dirtiest (referring to pesticides) is published. Here is a link to the recent list:

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/

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