K-State Research and Extension News
March 26, 2009
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For Food Safety and Health, Spring Clean Kitchen

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Warm, sunny days that signal spring can prompt a spurt or two of energetic cleaning. And, while freshening up the living or family room may be in order, a seasonal cleaning of the kitchen also is recommended, a food scientist said.


Tackling one cupboard at a time can simplify what may seem like a major project, said Karen Blakeslee, Kansas State University Research and Extension food scientist, who recommends beginning with the cupboard where flour, pastas, cornmeal, dry cereals and mixes are stored.


Grain products can attract insects, said Blakeslee, who advised consumers to look for packages that have not been securely sealed or are otherwise damaged.


“Check ‘use by’ dates and discard products that are out of date,” said Blakeslee, who noted that using outdated foods can produce a lesser quality product. Baking powder in pancake mix can, for example, lose its oomph.


If a product is still within its use-by date and free of insect damage, but in a damaged or non-re-sealable package, transfer it to a re-sealable container to protect it for future use, she said.


Blakeslee also recommends checking use-by dates and damage to packaging in canned and frozen foods.


Making a note of purchase dates before storing shelf-stable products can be helpful in storing and using food products when quality will be at its best, the food scientist said.


More food storage tips are available on Blakeslee’s food safety Web site: www.ksre.ksu.edu/foodsafety/ and on the Extension Rapid Response Center Web site: www.rrc.ksu.edu . Free publications include: Cupboard Approximate Storage Times - http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/FNTR2/L806.PDF and Refrigerator/Freezer Approximate Storage Times - http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/fntr2/L805.PDF.



K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Nancy Peterson
K-State Research & Extension News

Karen Blakeslee is at 785-532-1673.