Storing foods properly is important to keep them tasting good and you healthy.  Unfortunately many people each year get sick from contaminated foods that have been stored improperly or for too long.  There are certain foods that have a higher risk of contamination such as deli meats, seafood, and eggs.  Thankfully, most of us know how to store these more common foods.  However, other foods can be a bit trickier and can cause some unwelcome illnesses.  Some of these foods are called PHF (potentially hazardous foods) and not only support harmful microorganisms, they can also create an environment where they multiple.

Here is how you should store the following foods.

Homemade Garlic in Oil:

Garlic is susceptible to spores of clostridium botulinum bacteria, which is in soil.  These spores are harmless in oxygen but when bottled with oil, the spores thrive.  This can result in botulism, an illness that affects the nervous system and can cause difficulty breathing, muscle paralysis, and in severe cases death.  To reduce the risk, homemade garlic oil, should be stored in the fridge and used within two to three days, or tossed out after two hours at room temperature.

Home-Canned Vegetables:

Similar to garlic in oil, foods that are canned or fermented have a higher risk of contamination.  In the US, home canned vegetables are the number one cause of botulism outbreaks.  The most common canned food sources of botulism include low acid foods such as asparagus, green beans, beets, corn, potatoes, some tomatoes, and figs.  If you can your own foods here is a guideline to follow to lower your risk of contamination: :  As far as storing canned goods, make sure you date and label the jars, store them in a cool dark place in temperature between 10C and 21C, and always refrigerate after opening.


Rice is one of the most common sources of food poisoning in the world. Dry rice contains bacillus aureus spores and with a little bit of moisture these spores will reproduce. To start, always store uncooked rice in a cool, dry place.  It is best to transfer the rice into an airtight container once opened and keep it in the pantry or freezer.  Once cooked, the rice provides a moist environment for potentially poisonous pathogens.  Rice mixed with other high-risk foods such as seafood, eggs, or pork have a greater risk of contamination.  To store cooked ricer properly, remove it from the heat and cool it down quickly.  Once cooled seal your rice in an airtight container and refrigerate for three to four days ideally at 4.4C or lower.  When reheating, reheat to a temperature of 74C to kill off any bacteria.


Fresh fruits are considered PHFs.  Berries and melons have a high risk of contamination as bacteria such as listeria and salmonella is common in warm, humid climates where these fruits are grown.  To help prevent food poisoning, wash the fruit thoroughly and refrigerate below 5C to help slow bacterial growth.