7 Simple Steps
to Keep Your Food —
and Family —
Safe in Every Season
1. Check for Cleanliness—Does your supermarket, grocery store, or quick mart pass the "sight and sniff" test? Does it look and smell clean?
2. Separate Certain Foods—Put raw meat, poultry, and seafood in separate plastic bags to keep their juices from dripping onto other foods.
3. Inspect Cans, Bottles, and Jars—Don'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 Packaging—Avoid 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 Carefully—Buy 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 Last—Meat, 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 Temperature—Refrigerate 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
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service:
Reporting Problems with Food Products