How safe is the food in your fridge?
You expect food in the supermarket to be fresh, that meats and dairy products are well within the date on the package. But what about that funky food in the back of your refrigerator? Is it safe to eat? Foodborne illness kills about 5,000 people a year, so you do want to be careful.
Consumer Reports ShopSmart has advice on what to keep and what to toss, like that meat that’s been in the back of the freezer for more than a year. Frozen food will be safe indefinitely in your freezer as long as it’s kept at 0° F. Fresh eggs that are federally graded are safe for up to five weeks after the expiration date on the carton.
What about hard cheese that’s gotten moldy? You just can’t cut off the visible mold. Spoilage and sometimes toxins can go deeper than what you see. Cut at least an inch around the mold spot.
My refrigerator is a cesspool of potentially toxic ingestibles, mostly for two reasons: 1) Supermarkets have a lot of family packs but not much stuff for singles, so I almost always have to buy more than I can use in a reasonable period of time and, 2) I always put leftovers and restaurant doggy bags in the fridge with the best intentions, seldom realized, of eventually eating them.
So I have come with with a refrigerator-management system I recommend for all. I put all the new stuff on the top shelf. Eventually, that gets moved to the second shelf, and what’s there goes down one shelf. You get the idea. When it comes time to clean out the refrigerator, the stuff on the bottom shelf — which has long since turned into squishy, smelly, brownish mush unrecognizable as former food — gets tossed, so that everything else can be moved to its proper place. When it’s time for a midnight snack — TOP SHELF ONLY!
You’re welcome. Glad I could help.