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7 Simple Steps

A Man and Woman eating Strawberries

A Man and Woman eating Strawberries
Photo iStock

to Keep Your Food —

and Family —

Safe in Every Season


1. Check for CleanlinessDoes your supermarket, grocery store, or quick mart pass the "sight and sniff" test? Does it look and smell clean?

2. Separate Certain FoodsPut raw meat, poultry, and seafood in separate plastic bags to keep their juices from dripping onto other foods.

3. Inspect Cans, Bottles, and JarsDon't buy foods in dented or bulging cans, or bottles and jars with broken seals or bulging lids. Damaged containers may mean the food inside is contaminated and no longer safe to eat.

4. Examine Frozen Food PackagingAvoid frozen food packages that are open, torn or crushed on the edges. Watch out for frost or ice crystals, signs that the food has either been stored for a long time or thawed and been refrozen.

5. Pick Out Fresh Eggs CarefullyBuy refrigerated eggs only, making sure they're clean and none are cracked; follow "safe handling instructions" on the carton.

6. Select Frozen Items and Perishables LastMeat, poultry, fish, and eggs go in your shopping cart last, all in separate bags to keep their drippings from contaminating other foods.

7. Mind Time and TemperatureRefrigerate perishable products as soon as possible after shopping. Don't leave them at room temperature longer than two hours (or one hour when it's above 90°F). During warm weather or if takes more than an hour to get home, pack frozen and perishable foods cold in an ice chest, keep groceries in your vehicle's air conditioned passenger compartment.

To Find Out More

Gateway to Government Food Safety Information


Information for Consumers and Health Educators

Foodborne Illness

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service:
Reporting Problems with Food Products

Summer 2008 Issue: Volume 3 Number 3 Page 28