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".

BYOB: It Also Means "Bring your own bag."

grocery bagThe movement to ban those flimsy thow-away plastic grocery bags has recently come to Chicago and one of it's neigboring suberbs, Evanston. I have  mixed feelings about this required change in my bagging habits.

Grocery Shopping Strategies for Safe Shopping

Woman grocery shoppingProtecting yourself and those that share your  household  from food-borne illness begins with careful grocery shopping.  The U.S. government urges consumers to take these precautions:

• Shop only in stores that look and smell clean.

• Shop for items that are not refrigerated or frozen first.  Put perishables and frozen foods into your cart last. 

Spring Celebrations: What’s on Your Menu?

matzoUSDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline gets extra busy this time of year with brisket, baked ham, and egg questions. Here are some Spring food safety tips based on questions our Hotline Food Safety Specialists have received from callers.

 

How long can I keep a ham in the refrigerator before cooking it? 

 

To answer your question, we need to know what type of ham you’re buying and how it’s packaged. What does the label advise? The label is the best guide for determining storage time. It gives the product name, whether it’s smoked or cured, and whether you must refrigerate it. While USDA doesn’t require manufacturers to list the freshness date on products, many do. Look for the instructions on the label that tell you how long you can keep the product. For example: “Best if used by April 15.”

Are Eggs Dyed for Easter Safe to Eat?

Dyed Easter EggsYes, if the answers to all the following questions are “Yes.”

 

Is the dye safe to ingest?  Check the package.  Most dyes in children’s kits are vegetable dyes and are safe.  However, some kits are meant to be used on blown-out eggs, and the decorative materials (such as sprinkles) aren’t intended for consumption. If you use food coloring, of course, that’s also edible. If the dye is edible, it’s okay to eat the eggs even if, when peeled, you note that  some color has leaked unto the egg white.

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