Refrigerate - The Basics

Reviewed by Wendy Marcason, RDN
inside of refrigerator

Cooling foods keeps them out the "danger zone" — between 40°F and 140°F — and slows the growth of illness-causing bacteria. Refrigerate promptly and properly to reduce your risk of food poisoning. How long can foods remain unrefrigerated?

Perishable foods must be refrigerated at or below 40°F within two hours (only one hour if in weather over 90°F).

Never thaw or marinate foods on the counter.

Toss expired foods. Refer to the Keep It Cool Storage Chart or the Is My Food Safe? app for a guide to the shelf life of common foods.

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