Whether you embrace or despise grocery shopping, we all must eat. Regardless if you like to eat out, or prefer delivery, you must have something in your fridge. Right? Yes, even you Seamless aficionados out there. I know going to the grocery store can be a hassle; long lines, copious options of what seems like the same thing, and the potential encounter with that guy from high school who doesn’t shut up. (At least that’s my biggest fear) Oh, and obviously avoiding the potential germs and bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses, too! So let’s review some ways to ensure we are staying safe when grocery shopping, shall we?
- It’s important to only shop in reputable stores and ones you know that have consistently passed health inspection. With consumer reviews being so prevalent online, or by simply reviewing your local newspaper, this has never been easier. So stick to the Price Choppers of the world – not the local produce stand that also sells DVDs.
- Upon entering a store, use the hand sanitizing wipes most provide to wipe your hands and cart handle. With the amount of traffic these stores see, hundreds of people have likely used that very same cart and who knows what may be crawling on them.
- For those that utilize reusable grocery bags, make sure to wash them often. You may not realize it, but you have probably had raw meat or seafood in them one week and fresh vegetables the next. This could result in cross-contamination and increase the likelihood of you contracting a foodborne illness.
Inspect Food Packages
- Make sure there are no holes, tears, or blatant openings of packaging. Check frozen foods and ensure there are no signs of thawing. All of these will allow for bacteria to creep in.
- Check the lids of cans and jars to make sure they are not loose or opened.
- If buying canned food – inspect each can to make sure they are not dented, bulging, or rusting. Bulging or dented cans may signify the prevalence of bacteria or botulism.
- If purchasing raw meat, seafood, or poultry; put each package into complimentary plastic bags. This eliminates the risk of the packaging leaking onto ready-to-eat foods.
- Ask for your respective raw items to be put into separate bags upon cashing out.
- Shop for perishable foods last. This ensures that any raw produce or frozen foods remain at refrigerated temperatures the longest.
- After shopping, do your best to return home within 30 minutes of checking out. The temperature of your perishables may rise upwards of 10 degrees whilst returning home.
- If you’re going to be longer than 30 minutes, bring a cooler with ice packs to keep your perishables in. This will ensure they stay fresh while you’re running the rest of your errands.