WE'RE WORKING FOR YOUR GOOD HEALTH.
At United Supermarkets, we work hard to make sure the food you bring home is fresh, wholesome, and safe. Our commitment to food safety is another way you get more without paying more at United.
United has a food safety department that consists of the Food Safety Manager and the Food Safety Specialist. They work hard to make sure our Team and our stores serve you safely every day. Our store Team Members take a certified food manager course that is approved by the State of Texas. The certification is valid for 5 years, after which our Team Members attend a recertification class to remain current in food safety. We also continually reinforce food safety, and it is our top priority. We want to ensure that the food you take home is fresh, wholesome, and safe for your family to eat.
For more information about Food Safety from the Partnership for Food Safety Education, click here.
SAFETY TIPS WHEN SHOPPING:
- Shop for perishables last.
- Buy products labeled "keep refrigerated" only if they are stored in a refrigerated case and are cold to the touch.
- Feel frozen foods to make sure they are frozen solid.
- Check "sell-by" expiration dates before you buy.
- Use an ice cooler to store perishable groceries if you live far away from the store. Ask for United to help prepare your purchases for safe travel.
- Put groceries in the coolest part of your car and take them home to your refrigerator or freezer as quickly as you can.
- Choose only pasteurized dairy products. Buy intact cans that are not bulging, leaking or dented on the seam or rim.
SAFETY TIPS WHEN CLEANING:
- Clean your refrigerator regularly.
- Wash hands frequently when cleaning around food.
- Avoid using sponges to clean, as they carry bacteria. Use disposable towels instead.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming.
- Wash cutting boards and knives with hot, soapy water.
- Use plastic or other non-porous cutting boards. Cutting boards should be run through the dishwasher or washed in hot, soapy water after use.
- Wash sink and faucet handles that are touched with contaminated hands and utensils.
- Turn away and cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough near food, and always wash your hands afterward.
- Do not let raw meat or poultry juices touch ready-to-eat foods, either in the refrigerator or during preparation.
- Don't put cooked foods on the same plate that held raw meat or poultry.
- Wash counters, cutting boards and other surfaces that have come in contact with raw meat.
STORING FOOD IN THE REFIGERATOR:
- Your refrigerator should be set at 35-40°F.
- Raw meat juices often contain bacteria. When storing foods, put packages of raw meat on a plate so they won't drip on other foods.
- Leave meat and poultry in the store wrap before using.
- Place meat, poultry and fish in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Store meat below ready-to-eat foods, fruits and vegetables.
- Use steaks, roasts, and chops within 3-4 days. Use ground meat, seafood and poultry within 1-2 days.
- Store opened food in foil, leak-proof plastic bags, or airtight containers to keep it from drying out.
- Store eggs in the original carton.
- Don't pack the refrigerator full - allow air to circulate.
- Use steaks, roasts, chops, and deli meats within 3-4 days. Ground meat, poultry and seafood should be used within 1-2 days.
- Remove spoiled foods so bacteria can't be passed to other foods.
- Always defrost and marinate food in the refrigerator.
- With leftover stuffed meats, remove stuffing and refrigerate in a separate container.
- Divide large portions into small, shallow containers for refrigeration.
STORING FOOD IN THE FREEZER:
- Set your freezer at or below 0°F.
- Freeze yogurt and juice boxes to keep food at safe temperatures longer.
- Freeze leftovers that won't be eaten for a few days.
- If food gets freezer burn, it is still safe to eat. Simply cut out dry spots.
- It is okay to freeze foods in original packaging.
- Date packages and use oldest items first.
- For best quality, store frozen raw ground meats no longer than 3-4 months.
- Store frozen food items in this order (top to bottom):
- Pork/Ground Meat
- Thaw frozen foods:
- By placing in a refrigerator at 40° or below.
- Under running water at 70°F or colder.
- In a microwave oven (then cook immediately).
- By continuously cooking from the frozen state until thoroughly cooked.
- Never use leftovers more than once.
- Label leftovers and discard if not consumed within 2 days.
- Reheat leftovers within 30 minutes to an internal temperature of at least 165°F.
SAFETY TIPS WITH EGG PRODUCTS:
- To avoid spreading bacteria, do no use utensils containing raw egg residue on other food products.
- Don't allow your children to eat raw cookie dough.
- Don't wash eggs - this could increase the potential for bacteria on the shell to enter the egg.
- Use raw shell eggs within 3-5 weeks. Hard-boiled eggs will keep refrigerated for one week.
- Cook until yolk and white are firm, not runny. Do not use recipes in which eggs remain raw or only partially cooked.
- Do not store eggs in door of refrigerator due to temperature fluctuations.
SAFETY TIPS HANDLING FRUITS & VEGETABLES:
- Wash under cold running water before cutting.
- Keep separate from raw meats, poultry or fish.
GENERAL STORAGE TIPS:
- Store raw products below cooked ones.
- Place newer items behind or below older ones.
- If a food item is taken out of its original container, label it accordingly.
- Use ready-to-eat sandwich meats within 3-5 days.
MICROWAVE SAFETY TIPS:
- After microwaving, make sure there are no cold spots in food where bacteria can survive.
- Allow microwaved foods to stand briefly before eating to avoid burns and kill bacteria.
GRILLING SAFETY TIPS:
- Thaw meat and poultry completely before grilling so it cooks more evenly.
- Use a meat thermometer to insure that food reaches a safe internal temperature.Don't use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat. Any bacteria present in raw meat or juices can contaminate the safely cooked meat. When taking foods off the grill, do no put cooked food items back on the same plate that previously held raw food.
- Fresh fish & seafood - 145°F
- Solid cuts of beef - 145°F
- Ground poultry - 165°F
- Ground veal - 160°F
- Ground pork - 160°F
- Ground lamb - 160°F
- Hamburger - 160°F
- Poultry breasts and roasts - 165°F
- Poultry thighs and wings - 180°F
- Duck and goose - 180°F
- Whole chicken or turkey - 180°F
- Precooked ham - 140°F
- Fresh pork - 145°F
- Lamb - 160°F
- Veal - 160°F
- Ham (fresh raw) - 160°F
SEAFOOD SAFETY TIPS - STORING, PREPARING, COOKING AND SERVING:
If seafood will be used within two days of purchase, store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator, usually under the freezer compartment or in a meat keeper area. Avoid packing it in tightly with other items; allow air to circulate freely around the package.
Otherwise, wrap the seafood tightly in moisture-proof freezer paper to protect it from air leaks. Store it in the freezer.
Wash hands thoroughly with hot soapy water before and after handling raw seafood.
Thaw frozen seafood in the refrigerator. Gradual defrosting overnight is best because it helps maintain quality. If you must thaw seafood quickly, seal it in a plastic bag and immerse in cold water for about an hour, or microwave on the defrost setting if the food is to be cooked immediately. Stop the defrost cycle while the fish is still icy but pliable.
Marinate seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Discard the marinade after use because the raw juices may harbor bacteria. If you want to use the marinade as a dip or sauce, reserve a portion before adding raw seafood.
Do not allow cooked seafood to come in contact with raw products. Use separate cutting boards and utensils, or wash items completely between use.
It is always best to cook seafood. The Food and Drug Administration's 2005 Food Code recommends cooking most seafood to an internal temperature of 145° F (63° C) for 15 seconds.
If you don't have a thermometer, there are other ways to determine whether seafood is done:
- For fish, slip the point of a sharp knife into the flesh and pull aside. The edges should be opaque and the center slightly translucent, with flakes beginning to separate. Let the fish stand 3 to 4 minutes to finish cooking.
- For shrimp, lobster and scallops, check color. Shrimp and lobster turn red and the flesh becomes pearly opaque. Scallops turn milky white or opaque and firm.
- For clams, mussels and oysters, watch for the point at which their shells open. That means they're done. Throw out those that do not open.
When using the microwave, rotate the dish several times to ensure even cooking. Follow recommended standing times. After the standing time is completed, check the seafood in several spots with a meat thermometer to be sure the product has reached the proper temperature.
Keep hot seafood hot (140° F [60° C] or higher) and cold seafood cold (41° F [5° C] or lower).
Do not keep cooked seafood unrefrigerated or unfrozen for more than two hours.