The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates that 133
billion pounds of food in the available food supply goes uneaten
each year. The estimated value of this food loss is $161 billion
using retail prices. Simple actions such as cleaning your oven,
allowing your refrigerator to properly circulate air, and
downloading the free FoodKeeper app can help you reduce your risk of
foodborne illness, your impact on the environment, and the cost of
The birthdate of a family member may stick in your mind, but are you
able to remember when you bought all the items in your refrigerator?
Every year, billions of pounds of food go to waste in the U.S.
because consumers are not sure of its quality or safety. Last year,
USDA launched the FoodKeeper app to help combat this cause of waste.
The FoodKeeper is available for Apple and Android devices and allows
users to set up automatic notifications when foods and beverages are
nearing the end of their recommended storage date.
By helping users understand how items should be stored in the
refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, the application empowers
consumers to choose storage methods that extend the shelf life of
their items. It offers valuable advice about more than 400 food and
beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy
products, eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more. Cooking
advice is also offered to ensure users prepare products in ways that
eliminate foodborne bacteria.
Your refrigerator is your first line of defense in the fight against
foodborne illness. Keeping items below 40 ˚F reduces the growth of
illness causing pathogens and helps to keep items fresher, longer.
But if your refrigerator is over packed, it can cause problems for
both your health and your wallet.
An over-packed refrigerator cannot properly circulate air, meaning
some storage zones may not be keeping proper temperature. If food is
not stored at the proper temperature, it can increase your risk of
illness and cause your refrigerator’s motor to run constantly,
increasing utility bills.
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Don't stack foods tightly or cover refrigerator shelves with
any material that prevents air circulation from quickly and
evenly cooling stored items. Leave at least an inch on all sides
of items for cold air to circulate around them, and be sure not
to block air vents. To check the temperature of your fridge,
place an appliance thermometer at its warmest location,
generally the middle of the door and wait 5 to 8 hours. If the
temperature is above 40 °F, adjust the temperature control down.
Check again after 5 to 8 hours, and repeat as necessary until
your refrigerator is at a safe temperature.
kitchen is a high-traffic area where dust accumulates quickly. The
front grill of your refrigerator should be kept free of dust and
lint to permit free airflow to the unit’s condenser.
Cooking food to a safe internal temperature is the only way to
destroy bacteria and other pathogens that can cause foodborne
- Whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb and veal should be cooked to
145 °F. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least
three minutes before carving or consuming.
- Ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal should be cooked to 160
- All poultry should be cooked to 165 °F.
In addition to offering health benefits, using a food
thermometer can prevent overcooking. When using the oven or
burners, make sure heating surfaces are clear of food debris.
This will ensure an even distribution of energy for optimal
heating, also reducing energy costs.
[U.S. Department of Agriculture]