Properly storing food in a home freezer

Avoid cross-contamination with these freezer storage tips.

It’s important to properly store food in freezers. This will help reduce the chance of cross-contamination between foods, especially during a power outage. Cross-contamination can occur in many different instances; however, the focus of this article is limited to the freezer. Cross-contamination occurs when liquid drips from one food to another and that liquid contains bacteria. In order to avoid the likelihood of this happening, please take care when storing foods in your freezer. Use the list below as a guide to help you stack food in your freezer, in the order shown.

  • Ready to eat foods should be placed at the very top of the freezer (cakes and ice cream)
  • Next, frozen vegetables
  • Cooked meats
  • Raw steaks, pork, seafood, fish and eggs
  • Raw ground meat
  • Raw poultry should be placed at the very bottom of the freezer

Other helpful tips for storing food in the freezer are to label each item with identifying information especially if it is removed from the original packing. On the label be sure to include the date and item name. Try to keep food frozen for shorter periods of time to ensure that the taste and texture are at its best. If food becomes freezer burned it doesn’t mean that the food has gone bad. It just means that the taste and texture may have been compromised. The food is still edible and can be properly defrosted and prepared to your liking. Once the item has been defrosted it is okay to cut the freezer burned parts off if you’d prefer.

For more information on food safety and frozen foods please visit Food Safety’s storage times chart.

Did you find this article useful?