It seems like contamination is on the rise. First it was eggs and romaine lettuce. Then, our beloved Goldfish crackers went down, followed by a slew of ground beef recalls. If you’re worried about keeping your family safe from contamination, you’re not alone! That’s why the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an update to their popular FoodKeeper app to provide users with new information about food recalls.
The FoodKeeper app
The app was originally released in 2015 by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in collaboration with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute. By sharing information about safe food storage, the group hopes to reduce food waste and extend the shelf life of common foods and beverages. You can find the specific storage timelines for over 500 items, including refrigerator, freezer, and pantry storage times, along with cooking tips for meats, poultry, and seafood.
The latest update was released on GooglePlay and the iTunes store in early October. The new features are designed to help protect your family from E. coli and other foodborne illnesses by creating food recall notifications. You can choose to receive automatic notifications when the FSIS releases food safety recalls, or you can opt for daily or weekly notifications instead.
If you don’t have a smartphone, never fear: You can also access the app from the web at FoodSafety’s website.
How to protect your family from foodborne illness
In addition to knowing how long you can store food before it goes bad, it’s a good idea to cook meats until they reach the appropriate temperature and thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables. Proper handwashing—especially after handling raw meat or poultry—is another great way to practice food safety at home.
If you find yourself particularly worried about ground beef after all these recalls, try asking the butcher to grind it fresh next time. Or use this handy hack at home.