Food Storage Safety Guidelines
Prevent Food Poisoning to Keep You and Your Family Safe
At Edgar Snyder & Associates, we've been helping accident victims for over 35 years – including food poisoning victims. We've found that educating people about food safety is a key factor in preventing foodborne illnesses, trips to the hospital, and even deaths.
Storing raw and cooked meat, produce, and other foods safely is a way to combat food poisoning risks and help keep your family safe. Learn more about each by clicking on the links below:
Fruits, Veggies, and Produce
Storing fresh produce can affect both quality and safety. If your produce is not stored properly, not only will your food go bad sooner, but it could also put you at risk for foodborne illness.
- Store perishable fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms, in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40oF or below.
- Refrigerate pre-cut or peeled produce as soon as possible.
- Wash produce items well to clean off bacteria, viruses, and chemicals prior to eating them.
- If an item is marked pre-washed, you do not have do any further washing. However, if you do, make sure you use safe-handling practices to avoid cross contamination (i.e. don't use a sponge or cloth that could have bacteria on it from another food source)
|Apples||Room temperature: 1-2 days
Refrigerator: up to 1 month
|Ripen apples at room temperature. Once they are ripe, store them unwashed in plastic bags in the crisper.|
|Bananas||Room temperature: 1-2 days||Ripen bananas at room temperature.|
|Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries||Refrigerator: 2-3 days||Do not remove the green tops from strawberries before storing them.|
|Broccoli||Refrigerator: 3-5 days||Store broccoli unwashed in plastic bags.|
|Beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips||Refrigerator: 1-2 days||Remove green tops and store the vegetables unwashed in plastic bags.|
|Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon||Refrigerator: 3-4 days for cut melon||Store ripe, cut melon covered in the refrigerator.|
|Corn||Refrigerator: 1-2 days||Store corn husks in plastic bags.|
|Grapes||Refrigerator: 3-5 days||Store grapes unwashed in plastic bags.|
|Herbs||Refrigerator: 2-3 days||Herbs may be stored in plastic bags.|
|Lettuce and greens||Refrigerator: 5-7 days for lettuce; 1-2 days for greens||Store them unwashed in plastic bags in the refrigerator.|
|Nectarines, peaches, and pears||Refrigerator: 5 days||Ripen fruit at room temperature, then refrigerate unwashed in plastic bags.|
|Onions||Room temperature: 2-4 weeks for dry onions
Refrigerator: 3-5 days for green onions
|Store dry onions loosely in a mesh bag in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place away from sunlight. Store green onions unwashed.|
|Oranges||Room temperature: 2 weeks||Store in cool room temperatures.|
|Potatoes||Room temperature: 1-2 weeks||Store unwashed potatoes in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from light.|
|Tomatoes||Refrigerator: 2-3 days for fully ripe tomatoes||Ripen tomatoes at room temperature before storing.|
Meat, Poultry, and Fish
Don't automatically assume that product dates are a good guide for consuming food safely. Follow these tips and consult the chart below to prevent your food from spoiling or becoming dangerous.
- Refrigerate meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. However, if the temperature outside is above 90oF, refrigerate them within 1 hour.
- Place raw meat and poultry in individual bags to prevent meat from contaminating other foods.
- Use a thermometer to ensure that your refrigerator is between 35o-40oF and the freezer is at 0o F or below. These temperatures help prevent the growth of bacteria and keep your meats, poultry, and fish from spoiling.
- Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats within 2 days of purchase. Cook or freeze beef, veal, lamb, or pork within 3 to 5 days.
- Place your meats as low as possible in the fridge to avoid having meat juices drip down and contaminate other foods.
- Freezing doesn't destroy harmful bacteria; it only inactivates the ones present in food. Once the food is thawed, bacteria can become active again and begin to multiply to levels that can lead to food poisoning. Make sure you cook food thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria or viruses.
|Bacon||7 days||1 month|
|Sausage, raw from pork, beef, chicken, or turkey||1-2 days||1-2 months|
|Steaks||3-5 days||6-12 months|
|Chops||3-5 days||4-6 months|
|Roasts||3-5 days||4-12 months|
|Variety meats (tongue, kidneys, liver, and heart)||1-2 days||3-4 months|
|Chicken or turkey, whole||1-2 days||1 year|
|Chicken or turkey, parts||1-2 days||9 months|
|Lean fish||1-2 days||6 months|
|Fatty fish||1-2 days||2-3 months|
|Cooked fish||3-4 days||4-6 months|
|Smoked fish||14 days||2 months|
|Fresh shrimp, scallops, crawfish, and squid||1-2 days||3-6 months|
|Canned seafood||1-2 days after opening||3-6 months out of can|
Nuts and Other Food Items
There are plenty of other foods besides fruits, vegetables, meats, and poultry that you need to store properly to prevent contamination. Follow these tips and consult the chart below for safe food storage:
- Store eggs in their original carton – not in a refrigerator door where temperatures tend to be warmer than the recommended 40oF.
- Keep milk, milk products, and yogurt refrigerated at all times.
- Store nuts in a moisture-proof and airtight jar, or wrapped tightly in a heavy plastic bag.
- Refrigerate solid cheese in its original wrap until opened. After opening, rewrap the cheese tightly in a moisture proof wrap, such as foil or an airtight container.
- Cover opened butter or margarine when in the refrigerator. Before freezing butter, wrap each package tightly in foil or plastic.
|Eggs||4-5 weeks||Don't freeze|
|Milk||5-7 days after its "sell by" date||Flavor of milk will be affected, generally not recommended|
|Yogurt||7-10 days opened||6 weeks unopened|
|Nuts||4 months||9 months|
|Hard cheeses||3-6 months unopened
3-4 weeks opened
2 weeks sliced
|Butter||1-2 weeks opened||6-9 months|
Did You Become a Victim of Food Poisoning?
Sometimes safety precautions can't prevent all risks of food poisoning – especially when there is a recall or foodborne illness outbreak. If you, or someone you love, end up in the hospital from food poisoning, you may have a case.
Questions? Need to know your legal rights? Call 412-394-1000, or fill out the form at the top right of this webpage for a no obligation, free legal consultation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Our phones answer 24/7, so contact us any day, any time.