Holiday Foods: Heeding the Labels on Food Gifts

The holidays are a time of gifts and good food, and sometimes a combination the two! If you receive food, either as a gift or as a mail order delivery, there are a few things you should do to make sure it is safe. Londa Nwadike, an assistant professor at Kansas State, recommends measuring the temperature of any arriving food that needs to be refrigerated. If the food arrives at a temperature higher than 40 degrees it may be unsafe to eat. Foods that has been cured, fermented or dried are probably safe at any temperature, but if uncertain you can check the labels on the food. Soft cheeses must be refrigerated but harder cheese may be ok if shipped at room temperature but should be chilled on arrival. To save the cheese for future use, cut and then freeze pieces. Nuts, jams and jellies all should be refrigerated and nuts can even be frozen to keep them from going rancid. If anything appears even slightly unsafe don’t risk it, don’t eat it and try to return it.

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