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5 Rules for Storing Food Safely

By Brandi Goodman 

People tend to consider the foods they're eating in terms of nutrition. Does it offer protein? Is it full of vitamins? Is this better for my health? What many may not think about as often is whether that food has been stored and made in a safe manner. Your health can be impacted by these factors as well -- sometimes even more so than an unhealthy meal. Take these rules for storing food safely seriously so you don't get sick from the things you're eating.

Place Raw Foods on a Lower Shelf

It's easy to grab your groceries and shove them into whatever spot is available on your refrigerator shelf. Mindlessly placing them wherever can be cause for concern, however. You should be placing raw food on a lower shelf so they do not sit above already cooked options. Raw meat especially can spell trouble because the juices can leak easily and contaminate anything below it. 

Don't Refreeze Already Thawed Foods

Once you've unthawed some food from your refrigerator, it needs to be eaten promptly after cooking. It can sit in the fridge for a few days, but it should never be frozen again. Once thawed, your food is already exposed to bacteria. Refreezing it will only trap this bacteria inside and cause you to get sick the next time you try to eat it.

Throw Out Old Storage Containers

The look of your storage containers can tell you a lot about whether they're safe to use. If they're dented, cracked, or warped in any way, you need to throw them out. It's important to store food in proper containers that will keep things fresh and safe.

Follow the 2-Hour Rule

Food should only ever be left out for roughly two hours. Leftovers from a restaurant, perishable items from the store, or anything you're cooking should all follow this same rule. You need to get them in the fridge promptly before bacteria has the chance to grow. When the weather is hotter -- reaching over 90 degrees -- then the rule changes to just a one-hour time limit.

Check Labels

Certain foods you buy have storage instructions listed right on the label. You'll often see "refrigerate after opening" on jars and cans. Follow these guidelines and be sure you're placing them into storage containers first, not leaving them in open cans that expose the food to air and bacteria.

National Food Safety and Education Month falls to September each year. Now's the time to start thinking about just how well -- or not -- you're storing your food and cooking it correctly. Healthy eating starts before you even put anything in your mouth.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Roseville, Calif.

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