Grocery Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

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There are some people who are forgetting or discarding the strict discipline they once exhibited when the pandemic first started. Food safety is not always at the forefront of our minds when we are grocery shopping. However, there are some kitchen tips that you commonly use when preparing food that you should also apply when you're physically shopping at the supermarket. 

You should apply some rules of handling food in the kitchen to the way you shop. Stop making mistakes in the supermarket that you don't make while handling food at home. Here are tips to keep in mind: 

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1 You don't wipe down the cart and basket handles like it was your countertop.

The most handled items in the supermarkets are not the items themselves. It's the baskets and the carts that multiple people use at all hours of the day to do the shopping. While the store staff keeps you safe by wiping down the handles and sanitizing these, keep yourself safe by wiping down the handles of the cart and basket that you're going to use yourself. Treat this as your kitchen counter that everyone uses but neglect to wipe down unless it's visibly messy. 

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As they say, better safe than sorry and it's no less true then as it is now. 

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2 You don't think of a cooler like a portable refrigerator. 

A cooler may not be an item you think you need but you should always have one if you're doing any major shopping trips that include buying raw and frozen meats. It's equivalent to having a mini-refrigerator in your cart! 

Let the security guard check in your cooler so they won't mistake it for one of their products if needed. 

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3 You don't do your mise en place and forget to keep frozen food cold. 

Basically, don't shop backward. Keeping frozen and cold food cold longer is one of the reasons why the frozen food, chilled sections, and fresh food bins are either placed near the cashiers or have an easy way to access the cashiers. These food need to stay cold, chilled, or frozen as long as possible or these start to degrade. If these sections are not near the cashiers, make it a point to always shop for frozen food last. 

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4 You don't use trays to catch spills from frozen food. 

This is always a pain point for many shoppers. Since the shopping cart is just one big container, keeping food separate from each other is a hard task to do. That's why if you are at a supermarket that provides tubs or trays for your frozen food, use them. This is just like placing raw food on a tray at home before placing it in the refrigerator to catch and prevent it from dripping and contaminating other food below it. 

If you bring your own shopping bags or have a cooler, place frozen food inside so it stays as frozen and cold as it can, especially if lines are long or your trip home takes an hour to get to. You can let the cashier and bagger sort out the food inside for pricing later. 

This not only keeps the frozen food from thawing before you're ready but it also keeps your fresh food safe and separate as well. 

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5 You fail to "wash your hands", especially after handling raw food. 

Handling frozen food in particular is when you should be more conscious of having clean hands. This is because you are probably handling raw meat, the packaging of which may be a breeding ground of bacteria that are just waiting to wake up from the cold. 

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If you were in your home kitchen, you probably would wash your hands after handling raw food, so make it a practice to look for and use the washing area if there is one in the store. Sing the alphabet or birthday song twice while washing your hands so you know you've washed long enough. Sing another song if these have become tired to your ears. What's important is that your hands need to be soapy for at least 20 seconds to effectively kill germs

If your supermarket doesn't provide a communal hand washing area, use wet wipes or use alcohol on your hands after you are done choosing the frozen food. In fact, spraying your hands with alcohol is a task you should do frequently in the store when handling the products. 

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6 You don't bring your own bags.  

Think of bringing your own bags to the supermarket as making sure that each food is in its own container or shelf at home. Ever since plastic bags have become less used in supermarkets, cartons and paper bags are the alternatives many use. However, if you have frozen, chilled, or otherwise wet food in your cart, these paper bags will get wet and turn to mush before you're home. Using reusable bags ensures that you know your groceries are going to stored properly while in transit. 

Grocery bags may seem like an added expense that is unnecessary but having your own bags actually makes checking out faster. You can buy the bags that are offered in the supermarket but you can also use any roomy and sturdy bag to hold your groceries, too. 

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