4 ways to prevent foodborne illness—at the supermarket

Consumer Reports News: August 01, 2010 08:08 AM

With millions sickened every year by foodborne illness, food safety should start before get to the supermarket. Our ShopSmart staffers came up with this four-step safety game plan to protect your foodand your family.

1. Prep before you shop. Next time you head to the store, throw a cooler with ice packs into your car. then if you have a bunch of errands to run or it’s hot outside, you will be able to keep perishable foods from warming up in your car. If you forget a cooler, ask the butcher or fishmonger for some ice in a plastic bag. Also, put sanitizing wipes that contain alcohol in your purse. 

2. Clean your cart. As you enter the store, wipe the handles with your wipes. Germs might be lurking there. The wipes will help you prevent transferring those bugs from your hands to the food you’re buying, which is especially important when it comes to the produce you’ll be eating raw. Wiping your hands on the way out can help you banish germs you’ve picked up while shopping. 

3. Shop in the middle of the store first. This is generally where you’ll find drinks and packaged goods, which can sit in your cart for a while. Then you can hit the produce and bulk-food aisles. 

4. Save stuff that needs to be kept cold—meat, fish, eggs, milk, and deli meats—for the end. Pick up frozen foods last and keep them together. Also, separate meat, poultry, and other items in your cart to avoid cross-contamination. Give cleaning supplies their own area, in case they spring a leak. Make sure items you’ve kept apart are bagged separately, too.

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