Shopping and storing of food at home


The inside of a car provides the ideal environment and temperature for bacteria to multiply, so food should be in the car for as short a time as possible.

Get refrigerated and frozen foods at the end of the shopping trip and keep them cold by using insulated shopping bags. Keep hot foods separate from cold foods.

Check date markings on food packages, for example, use by or best before dates.

Never buy or use

  • badly dented cans
  • leaking cartons, cans, bottles or containers
  • food packaged in torn or ripped packaging or packaging that has been tampered with
  • food packages or cans that are swollen
  • cracked or soiled eggs
  • ready-to-eat food that has been in contact with raw meat, chicken or their juices. Take note of how ready-to-eat foods are presented as you shop
  • products in vacuum packs if the packaging has become loose.


Remember to:

  • After purchasing, store eggs in the fridge as this minimises any safety risk and can extend its shelf life.
  • Immediately freeze products that you do not intend to use before the use by date. Freezing greatly extends the use by date.
  • Check the temperature of your refrigerator using a fridge thermometer. It should be 5ºC or colder.
  • Cooked food can be allowed to cool to ambient temperature within 2 hours before it is put into the fridge. It is not essential to let it completely cool. Food will cool faster in shallower containers. See Thawing, cooking, cooling and reheating for more information.
  • Store raw meats and poultry near the bottom of the fridge to ensure that juices do not drip onto other foods. Alternatively, put meat onto a covered tray or into a sealed container within the fridge.
  • Keep raw foods on separate plates from ready-to-eat foods such as cooked foods and salads. Bacteria still grow in foods that have been kept refrigerated – they just take longer to grow.
  • Don't store food with cleaning chemicals.