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Nutrition Break: Food safety tips for meal kits, food delivery

Nutrition Break: Food safety tips for meal kits, food delivery

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Are you considering purchasing a subscription meal kit or ordering perishable food that is delivered to your home?

These services can be convenient but make sure food safety is part of the package. Whether food is shipped to your home or delivered by a local service, it needs to stay at a safe temperature to prevent the growth of germs that could make you sick.

Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe.

Before ordering, find out how the company responds if food is delivered at an unsafe temperature or is otherwise not safe to eat. Arrange for delivery when someone is at home so food can be refrigerated quickly instead of being left outside for long periods of time. If you cannot be there in person, see if a neighbor can help.

If no one will be at home when food arrives, find a safe space for delivery. Food should be placed in a cool, shaded and secure location where pests and rodents will not be able to get it. Let the company know where you would like them to leave your box. Here are a few food safety recommendations for when the food arrives:

-- Examine the box and packaging. If you ordered perishable food such as meat, seafood, poultry, eggs or dairy, look for stickers on the box that say “Keep Refrigerated” or “Keep Frozen”

-- Cold is key. Make sure the company uses insulated packaging and materials such as dry ice or frozen gel packs to keep perishable food cold in transit.

-- Check the temperature with a food thermometer when the food arrives. It is the only way to know it is safe to eat and should be 40 degrees F or less.

-- Refrigerate or freeze your delivery as soon as possible. Bacteria can multiply rapidly if food is kept in the “danger zone” between 40 and 140 degrees F for more than two hours. After you have made sure that the food was delivered at a safe temperature, store it in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible until you are ready to prepare it.

-- Notify the company if food arrives above 40 degrees F. Do not eat any of the food, or even taste it to see if it is safe. Food can be unsafe and still taste, look, and smell OK. When in doubt, throw it out.

Mini Cucumber Sandwiches

  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 cucumber, scrubbed with clean vegetable brush under running water, thinly sliced (see note)

Note: Other veggie options include sliced tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, avocado, onion, peppers, and shredded carrots.

Wash hands with soap and water.

In a small bowl, mix yogurt, mayonnaise, dill weed and garlic powder.

Spread yogurt mixture evenly onto four bread slices. Top with cucumber slices and top with a second slice of bread. Cut the sandwich into quarters. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 130 calories, 3.5g total fat 3.5g, 170 mg sodium, 20g carbohydrates, 6g protein.

Cami Wells is an Extension Educator for Nebraska Extension in Hall County. Contact her at 308-385-5088 or at Visit the Hall County website at

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