Refrigerate Promptly and Properly

Reviewed by Eleese Cunningham, RDN
refrigerator thermometer in fridge

March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.

Refrigerate Promptly Below 40°F

Refrigerate foods quickly and at a proper temperature to slow the growth of bacteria and prevent food poisoning.

Leftover foods from a meal should not stay out of refrigeration longer than two hours. In hot weather (90°F or above), this time is reduced to one hour.

Also, make sure your refrigerator is set below 40°F. This will keep perishable foods out of what's called the temperature "danger zone," where bacteria multiply quickest between 40°F and 140°F. Keep a refrigerator thermometer inside your refrigerator at all times!

Freezing is also a smart storage option to extend the shelf life of many perishable foods. Use an appliance thermometer to ensure your freezer is at 0° Fahrenheit or below.

Important tip: WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!

Download: Keep It Cool: Refrigerator/Freezer Food Storage

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