Nutrition Corner: Be sure your shopping skills are food safe – The Sunday Dispatch

It’s hard to believe it’s the last week of September. This month celebrates National Food Safety Education Month. You might have seen some marketing campaigns around being food safe. We know that food shopping should be the last stop on our list of things to do and that we need to refrigerate perishable foods as soon as we get home. However, do you have a thermometer in your refrigerator? All food in the refrigerator should be 40 degrees F. which, on most refrigerators, would be an ambient air temperature of 37 degree F. If you don’t already have one, put a refrigerator thermometer on your next shopping list.

Here are some other quick tips to remind us to be food safe when food shopping.

First, carefully read food labels while in the store to make sure food is not past its “sell by” date. A sell by date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. A “best if used by” date is for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date. A “use by” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The manufacturer of the product determines these dates. If you are paying full price for the product, read the label and be aware of these dates.

Next, put raw packaged meat, poultry or seafood into a plastic bag before placing it in the shopping cart, so that its juices will not drip on and contaminate other foods. If the meat counter does not have plastic bags, pick some up from the produce section before you select your meats, poultry and seafood.

Remember to buy only pasteurized milk, cheese and other dairy products. When buying fruit juice from the refrigerated section of the store, be sure the juice label says it is pasteurized.

Any finally, keep eggs in their cartons when you get home. Do not take out of carton and place in an egg tray on the door. Some refrigerators have eliminated these egg trays from their design.

Keeping foods safe to eat is necessary for everyone, but especially for those in cancer treatment or those who are immune-compromised as well as the very young and the very old.

Celebrate this month and keep your food shopping skills food safe.

Apples are back in season. Enjoy locally grown apples in this easy-to-make breakfast pancake. Enjoy!

Apple Slice Pancakes

1 apple (Granny Smith if available)

1 1/4 cups pancake mix (any type)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 large egg

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 cup milk, low-fat

1. Lightly coat a griddle or skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.

2. Peel, core and thinly slice apple into rings.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients for pancake batter. Stir until ingredients are evenly moist. (Small lumps are okay. Over-mixing makes pancakes tough.)

4. For each pancake, place apple ring on griddle and pour about 1/4 cup batter over apple ring, starting in the center and covering the apple.

5. Cook until bubbles appear. Turn and cook other side until lightly brown.

Mary Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan and Bradford counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at


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