Whether you are meal prepping for yourself or meal prepping for you and your family, you have to know how to keep that food safe! Follow these few tips below to make sure you’re eating nutritious and safe food. Keep your weekly prepped meals fresh and safe with this simple guide to meal prep food safety.
- Make sure your hands, prep surfaces, and utensils are all clean and sanitized before beginning your meal prep.
- Make sure you rinse your fresh fruits and vegetables before you slice into them.
- Be sure to rinse the tops of cans before using a can opener to open.
- Keep fresh fruits and vegetables, uncooked starches (rice, quinoa, beans), and raw meat separate from each other until after cooking.
- Keep separate in the grocery cart, grocery bags, refrigerator, and prep space.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat and before touching any other surface, utensil, container, fresh or cooked foods.
- When meal prepping it’s key to cook your food to the proper internal temperatures before combining it into your meal prep containers.
- When you are ready to eat a prepped meal, be sure to reheat to the internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- When meal prepping it is critical to keep an eye on the clock. Food can only be in the temperature danger zone (40-140 degrees F), where bacteria multiplies fastest, for 2 hours.
- Once food is cooked and assembled be sure to begin the chilling process immediately.
- Store your prepped meals in shallow containers with airtight lids.
- See the list below to see how long you can keep your prepped foods safely in the refrigerator.
- Cooked Meat (poultry, beef, pork, fish, shrimp) – 3 to 4 days
- Vegetables & Fruit combined with cooked Meat – 3-4 days
- Starches (rice, quinoa, beans) combined with cooked Meat – 3-4 days
USDA Refrigeration and Food Safety