Chilling and Storing Food

Refrigerating and Freezing Food

Refrigerating perishable foods is important, because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Keep your refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to reduce the risk of food borne illnesses. Your freezer temperature should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below. 

  • 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 degrees Fahrenheit). 
  • Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.
  • Use or discard refrigerated leftovers after 3 to 5 days.
  • Track what’s in your refrigerator and use items before they become spoiled.

Thawing Foods

  • 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.

Additional Resources