How to Store Food to Prevent Food Poisoning

Food poisoning occurs when the food you eat has become contaminated, often due to improper preparation and handling of the food. You can experience food poisoning from eating food long after its expiration date, or from eating food that has not been cooked thoroughly, such as chicken and other meats. One of the major ways to prevent food poisoning is to store food properly in your home and refrigerator after you have purchased it and even after you have generated leftovers. Continue reading this article to learn how you can properly store food to prevent you or your family from experiencing food poisoning.


  1. Image titled Store Food to Prevent Food Poisoning Step 1
    Keep the temperature of your refrigerator below 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius). Temperatures below this level will help maintain the freshness of your food; especially since bacteria thrives in temperatures between 41 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (5 and 60 degrees Celsius).
  2. Image titled Store Food to Prevent Food Poisoning Step 2
    Allow your leftovers to cool completely before refrigerating. If you place warm or hot food in the refrigerator, not only can it increase the temperature of your refrigerator, but the steam and condensation captured in the container will encourage the growth of bacteria.
    • If your leftovers are unlikely to cool within 90 minutes, place your leftovers in small, shallow containers to cool the food faster before placing the containers in the refrigerator. You can also elevate them on a trivet with feet to allow air to circulate underneath the hot food.
  3. Image titled Store Food to Prevent Food Poisoning Step 3
    Transfer leftover canned goods to containers. After canned goods have been opened, they can transfer metal properties from the tin over to the remaining food inside, causing contamination.
  4. Image titled Store Food to Prevent Food Poisoning Step 4
    Cover all your foods before placing them in the refrigerator. This will prevent your food from being exposed to juices, liquids, and other forms of contamination that may come into contact with uncovered food.
    • Place lids on all food containers or cover bowls with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
  5. Image titled Store Food to Prevent Food Poisoning Step 5
    Store raw food away from cooked food. This will help prevent bacteria from spreading between raw foods, such as chicken and meat, over to your cooked foods.
    • Don't make a habit of storing your food 'where it will fit' in the refrigerator.
    • Place your raw food on a plate or in a bowl, then store it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent any stray juices from dripping onto your other foods.
  6. Image titled Store Food to Prevent Food Poisoning Step 6
    Dispose of old or expired foods immediately. If you continue to store food that is rotten, moldy, or past its expiration date, it may not only be contaminated, but may transfer bacteria to nearby items.
    • Eat or prepare your food by the "Use by" date printed on the packaging. If your food packaging indicates a "Best by" date, you may store the food longer; however, it may not retain its quality in terms of taste.


  • If your refrigerator has condensation or visible spills inside it, clean your fridge.
  • When grocery shopping, store hot foods away from the cold foods in your shopping cart to prevent the growth of bacteria in the cold foods, and to prevent the hot foods from cooling off too quickly. Buy food which needs to be refrigerated or frozen last.


  • Never leave raw or cooked meats, fish, eggs, and poultry in room temperature for more than 2 hours. These foods contain nutrients and properties that will support the growth of bacteria if they are left in room temperature for over 2 hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Small food containers
  • Plastic wrap
  • Aluminum foil

Article Info

Categories: Cleaning Food