How to Store Coleslaw Properly to Prevent Food Poisoning

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Coleslaw accounts for more than half of all cabbage consumed in this country. It's an easy way to add vitamin C and important minerals to your diet. Whether you make coleslaw at home or buy it from the deli case, you can prevent food poisoning by storing coleslaw properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Refrigerator with interior temperature of 40 F or lower\nClean plastic, ceramic, china or glass bowl with tight-fitting lid
  • if you are buying bagged coleslaw mix at the supermarket, check the \"sell by\" date. Do not buy a bag that has an expired date, or that has coleslaw with brown edges, or where the contents look wet or slimy. Store the coleslaw in its bag in a refrigerator that is 40 degrees Farenheit until you're ready to use it.\nIf selecting a whole cabbage, check to see that the outer leaves are fresh and crisp and there are no brown spots.

  • If you are buying ready-made coleslaw in the deli section of your supermarket, ask the deli manager when it was made up. Always try to get a carton of coleslaw that is freshly made. If this information is not available, check the \"sell by\" date.

  • If making coleslaw at home, mix up only as much as you think you will consume at one meal. Coleslaw mix is usually combined with mayonnaise and seasonings, so it is important to refrigerate it as soon as possible after it is mixed up. Return the bag with any remaining coleslaw mix to the refrigerator. \nWhether using deli coleslaw or adding dressing to bagged coleslaw mix, refrigerate the made-up coleslaw at 40 degrees Farenheit until it is time to serve. If transporting to a picnic, carry in a well-insulated cooler surrounded by cold packs.

  • If coleslaw sits at room temperature for more than two hours, throw it out. If it is returned to a 40 degree Farenheit refrigerator after serving, it is safe to use again. Do not serve it a third time.

  • Coleslaw made with a sugar-vinegar dressing is safer for carrying on a picnic than cabbage made with a mayonnaise dressing. It may also be frozen for up to a month. Thaw in the refrigerator until read to serve.

Tips & Warnings

  • Recent cases of coleslaw-related food poisoning have been linked to bacteria from the cabbage rather than toxins in spoiled mayonnaise. Make sure you wash shredded cabbage in cold running water before using. Bagged coleslaw mix is generally washed; as an extra precaution, you can wash the bagged coleslaw mix and drain well. It will not affect the quality.

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