Investigation on food safety and preservation is essential to provide high quality and safe food for human beings, including accurate determination and efficient removal of inorganic heavy metal ions and organic contaminants, as well as regulation of food postharvest ripening and intelligent sterilization. In the last two decades, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), as functionalized porous materials, have aroused interests of researchers because of their advantages of high porosity, large specific surface area, flexible structure properties, and abundant binding sites for guest molecules. MOFs have shown great potentials in practical applications in food and related fields. In this overview, we summarized the MOF crystallization mechanisms, synthesis routes and methods, stability, as well as the applications in food contamination including removal of heavy metal ions, dyes, and antibiotics, and food preservation including regulation of fruit and vegetable ripening, removal of moisture and oxygen, and high-efficiency sterilization. Finally, two perspectives focusing on the development of MOFs for innovative food research, i.e., food-grade MOFs and MOF composites are suggested based on our understanding.