Think you're a grocery shopping pro? Here are five steps you should take to protect yourself at the supermarke …
By Rachael Anderson
Think you're a grocery shopping pro? Even if you know how to steer clear of hidden fat and salt traps, you may be falling pray to other pitfalls that are even more dangerous to your health. Dr. Oz teamed up with food safety inspector Roy Costa and registered dietitian Frances Largeman-Roth to reveal five steps you should take to protect yourself from the risky secrets your supermarket is hiding.
1. Look for the cold line
What do you do when you buy eggs? Do you take the carton from the top, open it and check for cracked eggs inside? Not good enough, says Costa. His advice: Buy eggs that are stacked under the cold line. This colored line is painted on the wall of the dairy section cooler. Retailers aren't supposed to stack eggs above this line, where the temperature isn't sufficiently cold. According to Dr. Oz, eggs stored there can sweat, facilitating the growth of bacteria. Instead of grabbing the top carton, look for that cold line and grab from underneath it.
2. Never buy meat to freeze
Smart shoppers buy meat or chicken on sale and freeze what they don't plan to use right away. Or do they? According to Costa, meat that's shipped to the supermarket is already frozen. It's then thawed before it's put on display. When you take that meat home, you have no idea how long it's been in the display case. That means it could harbor bacteria. The moral of the story: Cook the meat you buy within a day.
3. Beware the use-by date
The manufacturer stamps that "use-by" date on the package, right? Not always. According to Costa, retailers are responsible for stamping the date on foods that they process and package. That means they can change the date as many times as they want until the product sells. Costa says that retailers will sometimes continue selling the product until it looks green and moldy. Next time you buy food, look at the date, but also make sure the food looks fresh before you add it to your cart.
4. Avoid the manager's special
Items with these stickers might as well be stamped "old food." Francis Largeman-Roth says to run-not walk-away from them. They are the items the supermarket is trying to get rid of, which means it's probably been on the shelf for a while and may not be safe to eat.
5. Shop on Wednesdays
Wednesdays are the days many supermarkets start their sales, so the shelves are fully stocked with fresh product, says Largeman-Roth. Avoid shopping on Mondays. Supermarkets get most of their deliveries on weekdays, not weekends, which means the food in the store on Mondays has likely been there since Friday or earlier.
Rachael Anderson is an Associate Editor/Web Producer at Sharecare.
Get More Health Tips from Sharecare: