Grocery Store Shopping Tips

Whether shopping for canned goods or fresh produce, it's important to examine the product closely before purchasing. Follow these tips to make safer selections during your next trip to the market.


Shop for nonperishable items first, such as canned and dry goods. Pick up refrigerated items, frozen foods and hot deli items last — right before checkout.


Reject any fresh produce that appears damaged or bruised. Fresh cut produce for sale should be refrigerated or surrounded by ice.

Once home, wash fresh fruits and vegetables with cool tap water; don’t use soap or detergents that may leave harmful residues. Cut away any bruised or damaged areas of fruit or vegetables. Refrigerate fresh produce within two hours of peeling or cutting. If left at room temperature for more than two hours, discard.

Wash and sanitize cutting boards and utensils with a food safe disinfectant or bleach solution (1 capful 5.25 percent bleach per gallon of water) before and after handling fresh produce.

Meat, Poultry and Fish

Look for packages that are cool to the touch and have no wear or punctures. Select meat and other perishable products just before checking out. Make sure all meats are refrigerated when purchased. Keep fresh meats away from other grocery items to avoid cross-contamination. Put raw meat packages in plastic bags so juices will not drip onto other foods.

Pack raw meats in a cooler if it will take more than an hour to get home. Keep the cooler in the passenger area of the car during warm weather. Take meats home and refrigerate or freeze promptly.

Canned and Boxed Goods

Check the condition of canned and vacuum-packed foods. If the packaging is swollen or there are signs of moisture or leakage, do not purchase or use the product. Check boxes to be sure there are no rips, tears or punctures. If there are signs of damage, moisture or leakage, do not purchase the product.