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Best Practices to Safely Handle and Store USDA Foods at Home

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These handouts are intended to provide guidance to households on how to safely handle and store food at home. Whether you are getting food from the grocery store, food pantry, food bank, or community kitchen, all food should be handled and stored correctly to maximize its freshness and quality.

USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) purchases a variety of USDA Foods such as fresh, frozen, and shelf-stable fruits and vegetables, dairy, proteins, and grains to provide nutrition assistance to low-income households. These foods also support American agriculture as all USDA Foods are required to be grown and produced in the U.S.

The best practices included pertain to foods from any source, including USDA Foods purchased for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). These best practices are intended to help you safely handle and store food at home. You should review the manufacturer’s label for instructions and additional product information.

Click the links below for information on safely handling and storing:

These handouts are intended to provide general guidance to maximize shelf life and ensure the safe handling of food. Please visit for more information about how to safely handle and prepare food, including USDA Foods products.

Page updated: July 09, 2024