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Things You Should Know About Food Safety (Part 2)

8 November 2017

Things You Should Know About Food Safety (Part 2)Today we would like to continue food safety topic and talk about high-risk foods and how to freeze food correctly. If you missed our first blog, you can find it here.

Food safety is about handling, storing and preparing food in order to prevent infection and help to make sure that our food keeps enough nutrients for us to have a healthy diet. If food and water is unsafe, it means that it has been exposed to dirt and germs. Or, it may even be rotten, which can cause infections or diseases.

High-Risk Foods

We all know that raw poultry and fresh seafood are high risks, but what other foods do you need to be concerned about? Here’s a few you might not have known about:

Cooked rice, pasta, and noodles. The high carbohydrate and moisture content of these foods make them an ideal breeding ground for bacteria (and if left long enough, mould).

Milk and cream are also a high risk because of high sugar and moisture content. Soft cheeses also fall under this category, though if refrigerated correctly should last much longer.

Ice cream! You might never have thought that ice cream could be on this list but due to barely-cooked eggs and milk, it can be high risk. Have you ever seen that gooey, slightly darker crust on an opened tub? That’s a film of bacteria.

Fresh fruit and vegetables. At a bare minimum, these need to be washed thoroughly before eating. It’s not just food-borne bacteria you need to worry about with fresh produce, but soil-borne bacteria and the ingredients in pesticides (even organic ones) and fertilisers.

Eggs. Whether raw eggs are high-risk or not will largely depend on hygiene practices where you live. However, cooked, or worse, semi-cooked eggs are very high risk foods and should be consumed quickly or refrigerated, and not allowed to sit for longer than necessary.

Freezing Food Correctly

Some food safety charts assert that frozen food will remain safe indefinitely. In ideal conditions this would be true, but if you’ve found a way to get your freezer to a state of ‘ideal conditions’ I would love to know all your secrets.

That said, freezing food is a great way to preserve it long-term. Provided you freeze it wrapped correctly in cling film or kept in the original packaging, food can stay for a year or longer in a good freezer.

It is essential that food be as fresh as possible when you freeze it, so if you know you aren’t going to use it before it spoils, you should freeze it straight away rather than waiting for the last minute. Freezing works by halting the growth of bacteria, so having less bacteria in the food before you freeze gives you the best chance of having it come out safe and tasty.

If you defrost food partially or entirely, use it within 36 hours. Do not refreeze defrosted food.

If the covering on your food has torn, leaked, or is otherwise damaged, discard it. If anything doesn’t look or smell right when you defrost it, discard it.

Do not defrost frozen food on the bench. Either apply heat (like the defrost setting on your microwave) or let it defrost in the fridge. Placing it on the bench to defrost exposes food to the temperature danger zone, potentially for much longer than the safe period.

Preparing and cooking your food doesn’t have to be a minefield once you know how to be safe about it!  If you are interested in getting a Food Safety certification, you can find more information here.