Refrigerate - The Basics

Reviewed by Wendy Marcason, RDN
inside of refrigerator

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.

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.

Find an Expert

Need serious help making a plan? The nutrition experts in our professional membership are ready to help you create the change to improve your life.

Search Now