Tune in to CBS LA Channel 2 tonight at 7 to see me expose my darkest secret; The contents of my refrigerator! I’ll be on Inside Edition in the segment “Can Leftovers in Your Refrigerator Make You Sick?”
Food Safety Expert Donny Yoo came to my house last Friday to see what I had in my refrigerator and if I was storing food correctly. This was both good and bad; good because I learned a lot and bad because now people can see what I have in my refrigerator (and what I failed to throw away before he came over).
Yoo was pretty honest about what he found. I didn’t throw anything away before he came over or leave anything there that I would normally have thrown away. I did, however, clean my house – especially the kitchen.
Here is what I learned from Donny during our visit, including what did not make it on air:
- Deli meat can be kept in a closed container for up to 7 days (that’s assuming it’s not already expired). And then you have to throw it out (which is wasteful so I’m going to make sure we don’t let anything go to waste now)!
- Cooked fish can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for no longer than 3 or 4 days.
- Bottles of sauce, condiments, milk – basically everything that comes in a bottle or a carton – needs be sealed properly after they’re opened. I had a bottle of sriracha barbecue sauce that had the lid placed on the top of the bottle, but not fully closed. And it was expired. By a year. Which leads me to…
- The expiration date isn’t just a suggestion. It’s a rule. The expiration date is there for a reason and that reason is food can start to break down after the expiration date. (I did know that, but cleaning out my refrigerator was on my list of things to do next week…)
- You can’t just throw food in the freezer and think it will be fine. I had a box of waffles that was open and the bag inside was also open (I blame my children for this one) so it had to be tossed. If it’s left open it’s exposed to “possible contaminants.”
- Foods that have been cooked, cooled and refrigerated need to be reheated to 165 degrees. I definitely made sure to boil the soup and was very happy to get one right!
Things in my refrigerator that didn’t make it into the segment:
- I asked about a bag of frozen bananas that I keep for smoothies. When bananas become ripe, I put them in the freezer so they stay fresh. They had ice crystals, which I thought was a bad thing, but he said keeping bananas in the freezer is fine as long as the bag is sealed and there is no air in the bag.
- I was thrilled he didn’t notice all of the frozen fruit that has spilled all over the freezer. The day before, a bag of frozen fruit broke when we were taking it out of the freezer and blueberries flew everywhere. I got most of them, but forgot about it until Donny was looking through my freezer and a cameraman was filming my refrigerator.
- Even food in the vegetable tray need to be sealed. I bought a giant bag of kale and it was open, but in the vegetable tray, which I thought meant it was fine. But it wasn’t. Donny and I put the kale into bags and sealed them in order to make the kale stay fresh longer. It worked and I will be more careful.
Seeing my refrigerator online and on television was eye-opening. After Donny left on Friday, I made sure to clean out the refrigerator, seal everything up and I made a commitment to be more mindful about what I buy and how long it will last.