What mistakes do we make when storing food at home?

15/11/2020

Just storing food in the refrigerator does not guarantee its proper preservation if proper storage measures are not taken, according to Itzamná Baqueiro, a researcher at the Food and Development Research Center (CIAD).

Foods contain a load of microbiotic flora that is naturally acceptable for human consumption; however, the lack of conservation measures increases their proliferation, which can cause diseases, mainly of the gastrointestinal type. The food biotechnology specialist establishes basic recommendations for food storage.

Refrigerator temperature

If we use the structure of the refrigerator as a reference, it is divided into levels where the upper part allows us to maintain lower temperatures, which increase as it approaches the floor. Deli meats and dairy products should be on the highest level, while products that are for short-term consumption can be accommodated at the door.

A common misconception is that ultra-pasteurized milk (that which is shelf-stable at room temperature) has a longer shelf life; however, once the container is opened, the time to consume is the same as for milk sold refrigerated, which is approximately two to three days, as it is a highly perishable product.

Order of the vegetables

The most resistant vegetables, such as potatoes or cucumbers, should be left under those that are more delicate, such as tomatoes or lettuce, as they could abuse them and accelerate their decomposition process. In addition, foods that really require refrigeration should be selected, since when they have not yet reached their time of maturation it is not necessary for them to occupy space inside the refrigerator.

Another recommendation is to use resealable packaging in which food can be stored separately. There are even some that allow you to vacuum them to avoid oxygenation and favor their conservation.

Expiration date

The expiration date is proposed based on the time that food can last inside the package without decomposing, so the heat treatment to which it is submitted has a guarantee that covers only the days of consumption indicated on the package, so that if ingested when the expiration date has expired, there is a risk that it has generated spores that are harmful to health.

Food transportation

The ideal is to plan the activities of the day so that the purchases in the supermarket are until the end of the day, trying to take them directly to the house to avoid its decomposition, since a common mistake is to buy the food, to keep it in the trunk of the car and to take it to the house hours later.

There are also special bags with thermal covers to transport products that require to be kept cold due to their quick decomposition.

Risks in the supermarket

A recommendable strategy is to design a route inside the supermarket that allows selecting first the products that are not perishable, following those that do not require refrigeration, leaving until the end those that need low temperatures, since the time that the consumer takes in choosing the articles can interrupt the "chain of cold", in which the producer, the distributor, and the salesman have maintained the product to the suitable thermal level.

This implies raising the awareness of all those involved in the commercial process, because as consumers we have the responsibility to give the necessary care to our food to avoid contracting diseases from microorganisms, the specialist concluded.

Source: CIAD