11 worst food storage mistakes

January 28, 2009 4:49:32 PM PST
Are you putting your family at risk? Lisa Quinn brings us the 11 worst food storage mistakes.
  1. SLOPPY WRAPPING allows air and moisture to seep in. Easy Fix? Make sure lids are on tight.

  2. NOT REMOVING STORE WRAP can expose the contents to air through tiny holes or a loose flap and can expose the contents to chemicals from the store wrap. Easy Fix? Rewrap meat, poultry, and cold cuts that come in flimsy wrapping.

  3. OVERSIZE CONTAINERS leave too much "headroom"-air between the food and lid-spreading spoilage and freezer burn. Easy Fix? Match the size of the container to the contents.

  4. REUSING FOOD CONTAINERS that are meant for one-time use, like cottage cheese cartons or deli containers, may not hold up to wear and tear or be safe to re-heat leftovers. Easy Fix? While not good for cooking, freebie containers can be used for dry pantry foods.

  5. INCORRECT FRIDGE TEMPS even just a few degrees too warm can spoil food faster. Easy Fix? Keep the fridge at 37°F and the freezer at 0° F.

  6. FRIDGE-DOOR STORAGE can leave food 3 to 5 degrees warmer that the shelves inside. Easy Fix? Keep eggs, milk and fresh deli condiments in the back of the fridge, vinegar based items like mustard, relish and ketchup can stay on the door.

  7. REFRIGERATING RED-HOT LEFTOVERS will warm the food around it, increasing the rate of bacterial growth. Easy Fix? Cool food before refrigerating by transferring large items into smaller containers.

  8. THE SNIFF TEST is unreliable because food that doesn't smell can still make you sick. Easy Fix? Pay attention to use-by dates and when in doubt, throw it out.

  9. UNDERWRAPPING SMELLY STUFF will allow their strong odors to spread to other foods. Easy Fix? Use tight containers and if you can smell it, wrap it until you can't.

  10. LOSING TRACK OF LEFTOVERS could leave you eating spoiled foods. Easy Fix? Label and date containers, which should be in the fridge no more than three to four days.

  11. WAREHOUSE OVERLOAD is only good if you can eat what you bought before it goes bad, otherwise it's just a waste of money. Easy Fix? Repackage food into meal-size packages to avoid waste and freeze what you cannot use immediately.