Storing Food Prepared for G-Tube Feeding

When preparing food for g-tube feeding, I am particularly careful to avoid contamination.  My system is what I am comfortable with to prevent spoilage. Any recipes I make include carefully cleaned vegetables, thoroughly cooked proteins, clean containers, etc.

After preparing the foods, they go immediately into a clean container, are covered and stored in refrigerator or freezer. I never use a container of food that has been refrigerated for more than 3 days. First of all, I do not want any bacteria to proliferate and make my daughter sick. Three days may seem a very short time and overly cautious, but it is what I am comfortable with.

I have a freezer in my garage to store containers of food.  I date them with labels and a permanent marker so that I know how long they’ve been in there.  If I found one that was older than 6 months, I’d probably discard it.  Note:  permanent marker can be removed from labels or container lids (in my experience) with an ink eraser.

My freezer is NOT a frost free freezer.  I have to defrost it once a year and clean it.  The reason for NOT getting a self-defrosting freezer?  The temperature varies too much for my comfort level.  The way a freezer stays frost free is by turning on a heating coil to melt ice off the freezer coils.  This puts the food in the freezer through temperature changes and although there may be many sources saying this is completely safe, I opted for a freezer without this feature.   (A standard freezer also costs less to operate.)


2 thoughts on “Storing Food Prepared for G-Tube Feeding

  1. Hi, Thank you so much for all the useful info you provide. I am hoping to introduce my son to real food through his gastrostomy. When I approached our dietitan she threw up every objection she could think of . She asked me how I would store the home made formula. Then she brought up an objection regarding bacterial contamination in reheated food. Hmm. Now my son has a very sensitive gut , suffers from an irritable bowel and chronic diarrhea so I do need to consider this esp in regard to foods such as rice and pork for example. To kill off any bacteria preheated food needs to be heated to boiling temp? Or maybe simply removing food from the fridge and giving it time to get to room temperature avoiding reheating at all.
    I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Interesting questions brought up by the dietician. An easy solution that I use and works well for my daughter is to freeze everything that I do not use the same day. Bacteria does not grow (or at least grows INCREDIBLY slowly) in the freezer, from my understanding. I transfer tomorrow’s food into the refrigerator at night before I go to bed. It is still frozen in the morning, so again – no bacterial growth. I then thaw it in the microwave and begin feeding it to her. I keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to make sure the refrigerator air temperature is below 40 degrees, which inhibits bacterial growth. Seems like no problem to me.

      On the other hand, removing food from the refrigerator and allowing it to reach room temperature actually allows much more time for bacterial growth, so I would advise against that. The real issue is how the food is stored and for how long. The longer it is stored between roughly 33 and 40 degrees, in terms of days, the more time there is for bacterial growth.

      Reheating is unnecessary for my daughter except to thin the blended food, if a batch is too thick to push through the tubing. And I would never heat it so hot that I then have to cool it again – kind of defeats the whole purpose. If the food has been stored safely, bacterial growth should not be a concern. Perhaps she is thinking you would keep the food in the refrigerator for a week and then feed it to your son?
      Please keep me posted on what you decide and how it goes. I’d love to hear about it!

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