Unsafe food results in a lot of human health problems. The occurrence of foodborne diseases is a significant health issue. Storing food properly ensures its safety as well as quality by keeping color, nutrients, texture, flavor in food. Many people use food expirations dates guidelines chart to ensure the food stored in their kitchen is safe to eat.
What Should Be the Room Temperature Around the Food?
If you are storing the food in your refrigerator, it should be kept at or below 4-degree Celsius. This temperature is safe for almost every kind of food stored and will prevent it from spoiling. You can also use a refrigerator thermometer to check the temperature.
However, there are specific guidelines that should be followed for food safety like purchasing the food items before its expiration date and keeping neat or poultry chicken in packages.
Your refrigerator’s freezer should be kept as -18 degrees Celsius. Food like fresh beef, lamb, or pork can stray safe for up to 4-12 months in the freezer. These items are usually unsafe in the pantry. There are various printable pantry food storage carts available online that list the shelf life of everyday food items so that you can estimate to eat them on time. It should be kept in mind that these are just estimates.
The information printed on the packaging regarding expiration and use by date is the most important. It will give you a clear idea about how long the item will be safe after opening. If the date mentioned on the package is shorter or longer than the food expiration dates guild lines chart, you should rely on the dates on the package.
The dates listed are for the pantry or cupboard shelf life of food. If you see “unopened” in the packaging, the food item has a concise life after opening. It also needs to be refrigerated.
Some Food Storage Guidelines from the Food Expiration Date Guidelines Chart
if you do not store dry foods in your kitchen, they should be stored at least near the receiving area of the kitchen. Since dry foods need a lot of care and control to ensure their safety. The ideal temperature range for dry foods is 10 degrees to 15 degrees Celsius.
The area should not have rodents or vermin. All the walls, ceilings, and door openings should be adequately sealed to prevent access. The area should have enough light, and the shelf must be at least 15cm above the ground.
The storeroom should be designed in such a way that it becomes easy to rearrange supplies. The ideal position of the shelf is in the middle of the room so that you can easily rotate stock by pushing out old stock and sliding in the new one.
Fresh foods are usually stored in the refrigerator so that they do not deteriorate or decompose. The most important rule, which is also mentioned in the food expiration dates guidelines chart is that natural products should always be stored below cooked or ready to eat products. It is also essential to monitor the temperature of the refrigerator daily with the help of a thermometer.
Ensure that it is always in good working condition. The refrigerator should be cleaned regularly. Don’t put hot food in the refrigerator unless it is necessary. And most importantly, never leave the refrigerator door open.
Dairy products- they should always be stored in the refrigerator at temperatures between 2 degrees to 4 degrees Celsius.
It is a good practice to store dairy products in a separate refrigerator as they observe strong odors from the storage surrounding. Dairy products should be used as soon as they are bought.
Fresh Meat and Seafood
these items should strictly be stored at 4 degrees Celsius or colder. Fresh meat should not be kept in the open for too long. Seafood should be packed in ice and used as soon as possible.
most produced deteriorate rapidly, so they should be stored in the refrigerator. However, there are some exceptions like potatoes and bananas, which should be stored at a higher temperature according to the food expiration dates guidelines chart.
There is a technique to make unripe foods ripened. They should be stored at a temperature of 10 degrees to 15 degrees Celsius. Never store bananas in the refrigerators as they turn black quickly.
If frozen food is stored above -18 degrees Celsius, it will lose not only vitamin contents but also its color. All frozen foods should be wrapped appropriately. If not, they will develop freezer burn, which means a loss of moisture. It changes the texture and flavor of the food.
Types of Food Expiration Date Guidelines Chart
Old Food Storage Chart
this gives guidelines for home-refrigerated foods to prevent them from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat. It usually has four columns, namely, food type, food name, ideal refrigerator temperature, and freezer temperature; for example, leftover like chicken nuggets, cooked meat, or poultry can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 1 to 2 months.
Meat and Poultry Storage Charts
these charts give particular guidelines for the storage of meat and poultry. There are various segments in these charts, such as roasting time charts. Roasting charts give minimum internal temperature and rest time for the food items with the temperature of the oven and required time; for example, a whole chicken should be roasted in the oven with 315-degree F and for up to 2 hours.
The minimum internal temperature should be 125. Also, you should check the internal temperature of the innermost part of the thigh and wing.
What is Cross-Contamination?
When disease-causing microorganisms get transferred from one food surface to another through utensils hand or hands, cross-contamination occurs. It is widespread because we are usually not very careful while handling food. For example, when raw food (like chicken) can touch ready-to-eat food like any vegetable, cross-contamination will occur.
How Can You Prevent It?
Always store food in the designated storage area. All kinds of food should be stored away from dishwashing areas, restrooms, or garbage rooms. Food should always be stored in proper containers.
Make sure you have many clean, sanitized containers to store food after removing its original package. It is a good practice to label the container with the name of food stored and its expiration dates. Food should also never be stored near chemicals or cleaning supplies.
Food expiration dates guidelines chart will help you to store your food correctly. You can download one online, take a printout, and stick it in the door of your refrigerator. This will help you keep track of your food and eat it on time. You will also know when to throw certain foods out and when they will taste the best.
Estimates suggest that one and six Americans get sick from food poisoning every year. Therefore, the food expiration dates guidelines chart is far more critical than it seems.
Here are the links of some of the best food expiration dates guidelines charts: