The Shelf Life Advice Quick Reference Guide has answers about refrigerated unopened and opened foods. To receive your copy, type your email address in the box below and click "Sign Up".

Missing Chickens: Where Have All the Small Ones Gone?

chickenI've really missed those cut-up broiler/fryers and those light-weight boneless, skinless chicken breasts I used to buy.  Now, I can't find them in either supermarkets or small grocery stores.  Why do I want them?  1) My husband and I are not big eaters of chicken, so we saved money by purchasing the smaller ones.  2) They took less time to cook, and my convection oven and I are always in a hurry. 3)  I knew smaller breasts come from younger chickens and was convinced (though this may not be correct) that they were more tender and tasty.  But above all, the mystery of their disappearance intrigued me.  Surely they hadn't just flown away.  A Chicago Tribune article published in July 2014 mentioned that broiler/fryers had vanished but didn't explain where they'd gone. Therefore, I was still left wondering. 


One of our Shelf Life Advice Advisory Board members, food scientists Dr. Catherine Cutter, referred me to her colleague at Penn State University, Dr. R. Michael Hulet, associate professor of animal science and an expert on poultry.  He was kind enough to provide the detailed explanation below.  Further comments and advice come from three Shelf Life Advice Advisory Board members.

Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold—Either Way, Here’s How to Keep Home-made School Lunches Safe and Tasty

Lunch BoxDiane laughs as she recalls carrying a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school every day for some eight years:  “It was the only meal my mother considered safe to consume after being unrefrigerated all morning.” Today, we know that safety doesn’t require such monotony.  However, the challenge remains—how to pack nutritious, delicious meals that will remain uncontaminated even if they spend all morning on a coatroom floor.


Perishable foods (those that need to be kept hot or cold) must not be left in what food scientists call the “danger zone” (40°-140°F; 4°-60°C)  for more than two hours. Bacteria and other pathogens that can contaminate foods and cause illness grow rapidly in that temperature range.  Children’s lunches, if left unrefrigerated for about four hours, must contain only shelf-stable items, or parents must learn a few techniques for keeping hot food hot and cold food cold. (These tips will also come in handy when adults prepare their own portable lunches.)

Tips on Fishing and on Selecting Healthful Fish

tuna and salmonGone fishing yet this summer? No?  Well, before the pleasant weather ends, you may want to try it--unless, of course, hooking worms makes you squirm.  If so, the alternative is to go fishing at your local grocery or fish store.  There, you have many types of fish to choose from. Below is the scoop on the most--and least--healthful ones. Wherever your fish dinner comes from and whatever it is, safe handling is extremely important to minimize contaminants of various kinds. Read on for many tips on all these fish-related matters. 

Should Hot Food Go into the Fridge?

Hot FoodCooking for a crowd?  Then chances are, you’re planning to prepare some hot dishes a day or two in advance.  Then, you may ask yourself, can my casserole go right from the oven into the fridge, or is that a bad idea?  This quandary actually poses 3 questions: 


1) Will hot food damage my refrigerator?


2) Will adding hot food harm my already refrigerated food? 


3) Will immediate refrigeration be bad for the hot food?  We asked two members of our Advisory Board, Dr. Timothy Bowser, a food process engineer, and Dr. Karin Allen, a food scientist, to provide the answers.

Syndicate content

You must be logged in to post a comment or question.

Sign In or Register for free.