Food safety at the supermarket

Food safety begins long before you serve food on the dinner table at home. We’ve talked previously about keeping a clean kitchen, but let’s step further back and discuss food safety at the supermarket in today’s post.

Plan your trip

Thinking ahead is the best way to plan a food safe shopping trip. Here are our tips:

  • Wash your enviro or reusable bags regularly to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Add your chilled and frozen items to the trolley at the end of your shopping trip, so they are out of refrigeration for a shorter amount of time.
  • Plan to drive directly home after finishing your shop. If you can’t head straight home, consider using a chiller for perishable items.
  • Buy hot foods (e.g. roast chickens) later in the trip and keep them separate from cold foods.
  • Wipe the handles of your shopping trolley. Some supermarkets provide wipes for this purpose, or you can bring your own. If you’re popping a child in the trolley seat, make sure to wipe this down too.
  • Put raw meat, poultry and seafood in separate bags in case they leak onto ready to eat products. Avoid buying these products if there are tears in the packaging.

Don’t buy these!

There are some things you should avoid purchasing altogether, including:

  • cracked or dirty eggs
  • frozen or chilled items which have been left out of proper refrigeration
  • mouldy or soiled products
  • dented, leaking, swollen or rusted canned goods
  • food past its use-by date
  • products with damaged or dirty packaging
  • hot food which isn’t piping hot

Know your high-risk foods

Not all foods are equal in the ‘eyes’ of food safety! Take special care with these high-risk foods at the supermarket:

  • Raw and cooked meat, poultry and seafood and foods containing these things
  • Dairy and products containing dairy like milk, cheese, yoghurt, dairy desserts and dips
  • Eggs and egg products like fresh mayonnaise, mousse and quiche
  • Ready to eat salads like pasta salad, coleslaw and potato salad
  • Pre-prepared fruit salad or fruit
  • Deli items like sliced lunchmeat, salami and ham
  • Ready to eat foods like pizza, sushi and sandwiches

Keep high-risk foods out of the temperature danger zone (5 °C to 60 °C) as much as possible. Minimise time spent here by shopping promptly, using appropriate bags (e.g. chiller bags) and taking your groceries home directly.