Eating Well With Kim: Keeping Food Safe From the Store to Your House

By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email

Back in May, NPR ran a story about food safety and the use of the re-usable grocery bags.

That scenario reminds me of the phrase, "No good deed goes unpunished." Sometimes life seems to go that way, but I still like to error on the side of optimism. So, with that in mind, I will take the cart by the handle (this is similar to taking the bull by the horns, but significantly safer) and shed some light on grocery store food safety from entry to exit.

Wipe your cart: Studies have shown that grocery cart handles have the most bacteria of any surface in the grocery store. That is enough to make you get two wipes; I now wipe the handle and the seating area as well.

Do a random temperature check: Stores have thermometers in the meat and cold cases. Cold foods should be stored at less than 40 degrees. I did a random check while researching this segment and was very pleased to find all thermometers at the proper temperature in our National Hills Kroger store.

Check out the health inspector rating certificate: This should be posted at the deli and or areas where food is prepared.

Inspect packaging: This seems intuitive, but I have gotten home to find my bread package half open with dry bread all knotted up in the twist tie and a yogurt foil open with questionable yogurt that I had to toss out ... no fun at all, so inspect packaging while you are at the store.

Avoid cross contamination: This is a big one. Cross contamination can occur at so many points along the way.

Here are some of the many ways to avoid cross contamination among food:

  • Wipe that cart, as previously mentioned.
  • Put all produce in a new clean bag.
    Keep meat products away from other products in the cart or put them in a new plastic bag as well.
  • Do not put raw meat packages in your re-usable grocery bags (use plastic here).
  • Wash your re-usable grocery bags and replace when they fall into disrepair. Do not use re-usable bags for non-food items AND food items, keep them for food purposes only.
  • When you leave the store, put your groceries in the cool part of your car with you instead of the trunk -- this is especially important when it is warmer outside.
  • If your commute home from the store is longer than 30 minutes, bring a cooler or insulated bag to keep your cold items cooler on the commute.

As always: Shop well and eat well!


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