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At Price Chopper we place the highest priority on the freshness, quality, and safety of the foods we sell.
Here are a few Price Chopper operational Food Safety facts that we are proud of:
We also believe that an educated consumer is our best customer, so we've provided food storage and preparation tips to help you enjoy safe, wholesome food.
Proper food handling and cooking is the best way to prevent foodborne illness. We must learn to store foods properly, cook them thoroughly and keep our hands and work areas clean. Remember those most at risk for developing foodborne illness are children, the elderly and those who have chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems.
In the home, food safety concerns revolve around food storage, food handling, and cooking. Take a look at each of these tabs to learn more.
Most people understand that cooking food will kill harmful bacteria. But did you know that quickly cooling leftovers is also important to ensure food safety? Failure to cool foods properly is often a contributing factor of foodborne illness
Cooking food does kill harmful bacteria, but some harmful bacteria have the ability to survive during the cooking process. These bacteria can grow to dangerous levels if leftovers are not chilled to 45° F or less in a timely manner.
Discard any perishable foods left at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Harmful bacteria can grow rapidly in the "Danger Zone" between 40 and 140° F in that time. Keep cold foods at 40° or below and hot foods at 140° or above. This goes for buffets and any other situations. If you are eating outdoors at a picnic or cookout where temperatures are over 90° F, discard after 1 hour. Don't taste test it, either. Even a small amount of contaminated food can cause illness. When in doubt, throw it out!
Storage at the proper temperature also retains the fresh appearance, pleasant aroma and agreeable texture that contribute so strongly to an enjoyable dining experience. Plus, if you've taken the time to carefully select a variety of healthful foods, why not use them — or properly preserve them for long-term storage -- while nutrient levels are at their peak?
Wrap any leftovers tightly for best quality, and date them so they can be used within a safe time. Leftovers can be refrigerated in shallow containers, and should be used within 4 days. In the freezer leftovers are safe indefinitely, but most will have best quality if used within 2-4 months. Foods kept frozen longer than recommended times are safe, but may be drier and may not taste as good.
Refrigerators should stay at 41° F (5° C) or less. A temperature of 41° F (5° C) or less is important because it slows the growth of most bacteria. The temperature won't kill the bacteria, but it will keep them from multiplying, and the fewer there are, the less likely you are to get sick from them. Freezing at zero° F (minus 18° C) or less stops bacterial growth (although it won't kill all bacteria already present).
According to the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, many people overlook the importance of maintaining an appropriate refrigerator temperature. According to surveys, in many households, the refrigerator temperature is above 50° (10° C). So, measure the temperature with a thermometer and, if needed, adjust the refrigerator's temperature control dial.
You are the last person to handle your food before it is eaten. You may be the last person to handle food before it is served to your family or friends. Take charge! They deserve the best, and you expect no less from those who produce and prepare food for you. You are no less important than the manufacturer, government regulator, or grocer in assuring food safety. You are an important link in the farm-to-table chain.
Prevention of illness may be as simple as washing your hands — an often-neglected but VERY important act. Poor personal hygiene is a contributing factor in approximately one quarter of all foodborne illnesses. And improper hand washing probably accounts for the largest part. Your hands can be transfer agents for viruses and bacteria, but proper hand washing will prevent the transfer of disease causing organisms.
According to a recent survey, 80% of Americans understand that washing hands is important to prevent the spread of germs and over 90% report washing their hands after going to the bathroom. But nearly 50% could do a better job of washing their hands. Another survey reveals that only 11% of female and 6% of male respondents regularly wash their hands after using a public restroom.
You should wash your hands:
Simply rinsing your hands in water is not very effective. Washing your hands should take at least 20 seconds to be effective. Follow these recommended hand washing procedures to reduce bacteria:
If you have an infection or cut on your hands, wear rubber or plastic gloves. Wash gloved hands just as often as bare hands because the gloves can pick up bacteria.
Antibacterial soaps have properties that kill bacteria. Using antibacterial soaps will enhance the effectiveness of hand washing, but will not be effective if the hand wash procedure is not followed.
If you are going to be in a location without running water, bring a gallon jug of water for hand washing, moist towelettes, paper towels and soap. Even if you cannot do a thorough hand wash, a simple or modified hand wash will provide some protection and is preferable to no hand washing at all.
Never allow raw meat, poultry and fish to come in contact with other foods.
If a cutting board is used to cut raw meat, poultry or fish and is going to be used to chop more food, first wash it with soap and hot water, then sanitize it with a mild bleach solution.
When washing dishes by hand, it's best to wash them all within two hours. Don't let them sit and soak too long. Also, it's best to air-dry them so you don't handle them while they're wet.
According to the FDA, your kitchen sink drain, disposal and connecting pipe should be sanitized periodically by pouring down the sink a solution of 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) of chlorine bleach in 1 quart (about 1 liter) of water or a solution of commercial kitchen cleaning agent made according to product directions. Food particles get trapped in the drain and disposal and, along with the moistness, create an ideal environment for bacterial growth.
According to the FDA, bleach and commercial kitchen cleaning agents are the best sanitizers—provided they're diluted according to product directions. They're the most effective at getting rid of bacteria. Hot water and soap does a good job, too, but may not kill all strains of bacteria. Water alone may get rid of visible dirt, but not bacteria.
Also, be sure to keep dishcloths and sponges clean because, when wet, these materials harbor bacteria and may promote their growth.
Food must be kept at a safe temperature while thawing. When frozen, foods are safe indefinitely. However, as soon as food begins to defrost, any bacteria present before freezing can begin to grow again.
Do not thaw meat, poultry and fish products on the counter or in the sink without cold water; bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature. A package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter more than two hours, or overnight is not at a safe temperature. Even though the center of the package may still be frozen, the outer layer of the food is in "the danger zone" between 40° F and 140° F — at a temperature when bacteria multiply rapidly.
There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave. When defrosting frozen foods, it's best to plan ahead and thaw food in the refrigerator where food will remain at a safe, constant temperature — 40° F or below.
When thawing foods in the refrigerator, there are several variables to take into account.
This method of thawing is faster than refrigerator thawing but requires more attention.
When microwave defrosting food, plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving. Holding partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present wouldn't have been destroyed. Foods thawed in the microwave should be cooked before refreezing.
A package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter more than two hours, or overnight is not at a safe temperature. Even though the center of the package may still be frozen, the outer layer of the food is in "the danger zone" between 40° F and 140° F — at a temperature when bacteria multiply rapidly.
Everyone knows that cooking food will kill harmful bacteria. But at what temperature should food be cooked and how do you know if the food is cooked to the proper temperature?
To kill harmful bacteria, the following minimum cooking temperatures are recommended:
Using a thermometer is the most accurate method to determine the temperature of food.
Thermometers can get out of calibration. If your thermometer is not accurate it should be discarded unless it can be re-calibrated. There are two methods to check the accuracy of your thermometer.
There are two types of thermometers generally available.
Although not as accurate as a thermometer, using visual clues and understanding the cooking process can help you judge if the food has been cooked to a safe temperature.
Cooking thermometers are available at your local Price Chopper.
Reheat your foods thoroughly to 165° F until hot and steaming. If reheating gravy, bring it to a rolling boil.
Inadequate heating in the microwave can contribute to illnesses. If reheating, cover the food and rotate it so it heats evenly. For packaged foods, follow directions, including the standing time in or out of the microwave, after cooking. Microwave cooking creates pockets of heat in the food, but allowing the food to stand before eating allows the heat to spread to the rest of the food.
Consult your microwave owner's manual for complete instructions.
Ground Meat and ground poultry are more perishable than most foods. In the danger zone between 40° and 140° F, bacteria can multiply rapidly. Since you can't see, smell or taste bacteria, keep the products cold to keep them safe.
Cold Storage Times for Ground Meat and Ground Poultry Refrigerator (40° F or below)
Freezer (0° F or below)
Internal Temperatures for Safe Cooking
Eggs are a perishable food and must be properly stored and cooked. Raw eggs that were contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis bacteria have caused outbreaks of foodborne illness. Most outbreaks appear to be related to pooling (commingling) of eggs, time/temperature abuse, and incomplete cooking.
Proper refrigeration at 40° F or below limits the growth of Salmonella enteritidis and proper cooking at 140° F or above destroys the organism. Therefore, consumers must follow safe food-handling practices when preparing eggs.
Special precautions are needed when eggs are served to people who are particularly vulnerable to Salmonella enteritidis infections. High-risk groups are the very young, the elderly, pregnant women (because of risk to the fetus), and people already weakened by serious illness or whose immune systems are weakened.
Follow these precautions when handling both raw eggs and foods in which eggs are an ingredient, such as quiche or baked custard.
Avoid eating raw eggs and foods containing raw eggs:
Commercial forms of these products are safe to serve since they are made with pasteurized liquid eggs. Commercial pasteurization destroys Salmonella bacteria.
Price Chopper has created a program that gives even more value to your total benefits package with discounts on health and fitness, as well as car rentals and vacations. We even have a special program on mortgages and/or the sale of your house! We want the best for our teammates, and we're here to help you get the most out of life, both at work and at home.
Here are some helpful hints to assure that your party is a memorable one, but not for the wrong reasons.
If you are cooking foods ahead of time for your buffet, be sure to cook foods thoroughly to safe temperatures. Cook fresh roast beef to at least 145° F for medium rare and 160° F for medium doneness. Bake whole poultry to 180° F and poultry breasts to 170° F. Ground poultry should be cooked to 165° F. All other meat, fish and ground red meats should be cooked to 160° F.
Hot foods should be held at 140° F or warmer. On the buffet table you can keep hot foods hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Cold foods should be held at 40° F or colder. Keep foods cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice. Otherwise, you should use small serving trays and replace them often. Replace empty platters rather than adding fresh food to a dish that already had food on it.
Foods should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Keep track of how long foods have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything there two hours or more. If the buffet is held outdoors, and the outside temperature is above 85° F, then the holding time is reduced to one hour.
When the party's over, discard any foods that remained on the buffet table for more than 2 hours.
When meals are purchased to eat at a later time, like a picnic, sporting event, or outdoor buffet, a cooler with ice is a practical alternative to a refrigerator. The cooler should be well insulated and packed with ice or freezer packs. Remember the 2-hour rule when food is removed from the cooler.
V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N! Oh, how we long for that eight-letter word every summer, when millions of us eagerly get away from school and work. No matter where we go or what we do, there is a common denominator that runs through all of our summer travels and relaxation — it's called F-O-O-D!
If you are traveling longer than 30 minutes, pack perishable foods directly from the refrigerator or freezer into a cooler with ice or freezer packs. Meat and poultry may be packed while still frozen; it stays colder longer. Also, a full cooler will maintain its cold temperatures longer than one that is partially filled. Be sure to keep raw meat and poultry wrapped separately from cooked or foods meant to be eaten raw, such as fruits.
If the cooler is only partially filled, pack the remaining space with more ice or with fruit and some non-perishable foods such as peanut butter and jelly and perhaps some hard-like Cheddar cheeses. For long trips, take along two coolers — one for the day's immediate food needs, such as lunch, drinks or snacks, and the other for perishable foods to be used later in the vacation.
Keep the cooler in the air-conditioned passenger compartment of your car, rather than in a hot trunk. Limit the times the cooler is opened. Open and close the lid quickly. When carrying drinks, consider packing them in a separate cooler so the food cooler is not opened frequently.
Plan ahead. Take along only the amount of food that can be eaten to avoid having leftovers. If grilling, make sure local ordinances allow it.
Make sure the all-important cooler is along. Remember to keep the cooler in a shady spot. Keep it covered with a blanket, tarp or poncho, preferably one that is light in color to reflect heat, or partially bury it in the sand.
Don't let perishable food sit out for more than two hours. The time frame is reduced to just one hour if the outside temperature is above 90 degrees F.
Bring along bottled water or other canned or bottled drinks. Always assume that streams and rivers are not safe for drinking. If in a remote area, bring along water purification tablets or equipment. These are available at camping supply stores.
Keep hands and all utensils clean when preparing food. Use disposable towelettes to clean hands. When planning meals, think about buying and using shelf-stable food to ensure food safety.
Now, about that "catch" of fish -- assuming the big one did not get away. For fin fish: scale, gut and clean the fish as soon as they are caught. Wrap both whole and cleaned fish in watertight plastic and store on ice. Keep 3-4 inches of ice on the bottom of the cooler, then alternate layers of fish and ice. Cook the fish in 1-2 days, or freeze and use it within 6 months. After cooking, eat within 3-4 days. Make sure the raw fish stays separate from cooked foods.
Crabs, lobsters and other shellfish must be kept alive until cooked. Store in a bushel or laundry basket under wet burlap. Crabs and lobsters are best eaten the day they are caught. Live oysters can keep 7-10 days; mussels and clams, 4-5 days.
Caution: Be aware of the potential dangers of eating raw shellfish. This is especially true for persons with liver disorders or weakened immune systems. However, no one should do so.
If dining out, say along the boardwalk, make sure the food stands frequented look clean, and that hot foods are served hot and cold foods cold. Don't eat anything that has been sitting out in the hot sun -- a real invitation for foodborne illness and a spoiled vacation.
If a vacation home or a recreational vehicle has not been used for a while, check leftover canned food from last year. The Meat and Poultry Hotline recommends that canned foods exposed to freezing and thawing temperatures over the winter be discarded.
Also, check the refrigerator. If unplugged from last year, thoroughly clean it before using. Make sure all food preparation areas in the vacation home or in the recreational vehicle are thoroughly cleaned.
In today's busy world, convenience foods, including complete meals-to-go, are very popular. Some would even say a necessity. While most of these foods are consumed immediately, others are purchased and eaten at a later time. Remember that all food is perishable and can cause illness when mishandled, even if it's been cooked. Proper handling is essential to ensure the food is safe, so keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold! When in doubt, throw it out!