15 Ways to Make Your Food Safer
Food Safety Strategies From the Market to the Table
Pillai is a professor of food safety and environmental microbiology at Texas
Locally grown food "is pretty much on par with what you would find in a
supermarket," in terms of food safety, Demma agrees. "Of course, there
[are] other reasons to buy and eat locally," she says.
At farmers markets, you may get the chance to meet and talk with the people
who produced your food.
Farmers markets have become more common, with 4,385 U.S. farmers markets in
2006, up from 1,755 farmers markets in 1994, according to the U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA).
Eating food shipped from overseas? The melamine-tainted animal feed
ingredients came from China. But that doesn't mean that all imported food is
"The assumption that the imported products are unsafe is absolutely not
true," Pillai says. "In fact, there are as many outbreaks associated
with foods grown in the United States. So blaming it on imported products, I
think, is a cop-out."
2. Map your supermarket route. Don't cruise the store aisles
aimlessly. Gather nonperishable items first, fresh or frozen goods last. That
strategy minimizes the time that perishable goods sit in your shopping cart
instead of in a freezer or refrigerator.
3. Be choosy. Select fresh produce that isn't bruised or
damaged. Check that eggs aren't cracked. Look for a clean meat or fish counter
and a clean salad bar. Don't buy bulging or dented cans, cracked jars, or jars
with loose or bulging lids. If fresh-cut produce (such as half a watermelon or
bagged salad mixes) is on your shopping list, choose those that are
refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
4. Pack it up. At the grocery store, bag fresh fruits and vegetables
separately from meat, poultry, and seafood products.
Bring an ice chest to keep frozen or perishable items if it will take more
than an hour to get those items home.
No ice chest? If it's hot outside, put the groceries in the air-conditioned
passenger area of your car instead of putting them in the trunk, which may not