Saturday, May 29, 2010


Regular food purchase is a routine experience, some times monotonous, not liked by every one though the modern super markets and hyper markets try to to make it interesting by the very ambiance provided by them. The old practice of carrying a cloth bag to the market and returning with different type of foods, all clubbed together, has given way to walking through the market isles with a trolley or a carry basket, picking up the desired items and packing them in thin disposable plastic carry bags at the cash counter after billing for ferrying them to the kitchen. While those needing low temperature storage get transferred to refrigerators and freezers, others are stored in the pantry using rigid bottles for repeat use. Though the whole activity is a part of regular house hold activity, there can be some science behind it is not known to many. Here is take on that.

"Once at the store clean your cart. Wipe the handles with your wipes. It will help prevent transferring those bugs from your hands to the food you're buying. Don't forget to wipe your hands again on the way out. Shop in the middle of the grocery store first. This is generally where you'll find drinks and packaged goods which can sit in your cart for a while and be fine. Then head to the produce and bulk food aisles next. Save things that need to be refrigerated for last. Keep frozen foods together. Separate meat, poultry, and other items in your cart to avoid cross contamination. Give cleaning supplies their own area and make sure items kept apart are bagged separately. Once you're home put items away as soon as possible. Put perishables in the fridge or freezer. They can begin to spoil in as little as an hour. Put items in the right place. Milk should go in the back where it's coldest. Keep old containers no more than a week after the sell-by date. Keep eggs in their carton in the back of the fridge too and not on the door. Don't overstuff your fridge and freezer. Allowing room for air to circulate ensures things stay cold enough. Also, don't stack meats on top of each other in the freezer. Use the "first in, first out" rule. Store new items in your pantry in the back. Use the oldest unexpired products in the front first".

How far such a meticulous regimen can be practiced in a country like India is a matter of conjecture, though some may be doing it more or less the same way as propounded above. It is the duty of the retailers to educate the consumer about the importance of food safety and economy so that wastes and safety mishaps are avoided. May be such desirable practices can be promoted by the retailers association through regular programs in the electronic media for wider dissemination. Such activities can become a part of the social responsibility of the business sector and the better image and impact through such programs will be worthy of the money spent.

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