What is Non-Perishable Food? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:04 How Long Will Food Last?
  • 0:59 Defining Non-Perishable Foods
  • 1:26 Storage
  • 2:14 Non-Perishable Foods
  • 3:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Different kinds of food spoil at different rates. In this lesson, we are going to examine non-perishable food, look at some common examples, and learn the best way to store these items.

How Long Will Food Last?

What's your favorite food? Is it a single item, or a dish made by compiling many ingredients? Whatever it is, your favorite food is something that you enjoy for its taste, smell, or even texture. But if not stored properly, all of those could change. Even worse, it could make you ill.

Over time, bacteria grow on food that either decompose it and change the taste, color, and smell (called spoilage bacteria) or create foodborne illnesses (called pathogen bacteria). The key to reducing the grow rate of these bacteria and prolonging the time you can enjoy your food before it goes bad is knowing what kind of food it is, in terms of spoilage. There are three main categories:

  1. Perishable foods, which spoil very quickly and require immediate refrigeration
  2. Semi-perishable foods, which take longer to spoil and may not need refrigeration
  3. Non-perishable foods, which you can keep with you for quite a while

Defining Non-Perishable Foods

Right off the bat, we must acknowledge that the term ''non-perishable food'' is something of a misnomer. Most food is not truly exempt from spoilage and will decay to the point of being unsafe and/or unpalatable over time. However, non-perishable foods are those that are most resistant to this process. In fact, most non-perishable foods will last for a year or longer. What's even better is that they do not require refrigeration in order to sustain this long shelf life.

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