For safest and best results, chill food properly. Cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria and reduce the opportunity for food borne illness.
The Partnership for Food Safety Education recommends:
- Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs and other perishables as soon as you get them home from the store.
- Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food or cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit at room temperature more than two hours before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer (one hour when the temperature is above 90°F).
- Never defrost food at room temperature. Food must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
- Always marinate food in the refrigerator.
- Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.
- Use or discard refrigerated food on a regular basis.
- Finally, do not over-stuff the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate to help keep food safe. Keep the refrigerator temperature at 40°F or below; the freezer temperature at 0°F or below.
Fight Bac! Partnership for Food Safety Education, 2017. Online [available at]: http://www.fightbac.org/food-safety-basics/the-core-four-practices/