6 tips to avoid food contamination

6 tips to avoid food contamination

1. To avoid contamination, a refrigerator should be between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. "At room temperature, harmful bacteria can grow rapidly in perishable foods," says Siobhan DeLancey, FDA spokesperson. "The danger zone is between 40 and 140 degrees."

2. Remember the two-hour rule to avoid a foodborne illness. "If anything has been left out — or has been in a fridge that's more than 40 degrees — for that amount of time, it shouldn't be consumed," DeLancey says.

3. According to the USDA, mayonnaise that's properly refrigerated is safe to eat for two months, while butter and margarine should stay good for three months.

4. Bread is safe to eat after the expiration date passes — as long as mold isn't present. Keep bread in the fridge to inhibit mold growth or store it in the freezer for up to two months.

5. Fresh chicken should immediately be placed in the fridge after purchase, and cooked within one or two days at a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. After it's cooked, it's safe to eat for three to four days if kept in the fridge.

6. If kept in proper refrigeration, the National Dairy Council says milk generally stays fresh for two to three days after the "sell by" date.

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