Treat your food well to keep those nasty bugs at bay.
If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you’ll know how sick contaminated food can make you. Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea and can occur anywhere from half an hour to several hours after eating.
If you want to keep yourself and your family safe from food poisoning, you need to ensure that your food is treated properly.
Food poisoning is often caused by bacteria from food that has been poorly stored, handled or cooked. Food that’s contaminated with bacteria can look, smell and even taste normal, but if it isn’t stored properly, bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels.
The bacteria that cause food poisoning thrive best in temperatures between 5° and 60°C. That means you need to keep high risk food out of this temperature zone. High risk foods are those that bacteria can grow on more easily. They include:
- Meat and poultry such as chicken or turkey
- Dairy products such as milk or cream
- Processed meats such as salami and ham
- Cooked rice and pasta
- Prepared salads such as coleslaw, pasta salads and fruit salads
Here are some tips to keep your food safe:
- Your fridge temperature should always be below 5°C. Your freezer should be below “15°C.
- Don’t refreeze thawed food, and don’t put hot food in the fridge or freezer.
- Don’t thaw foods at room temperature. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or in the microwave immediately before cooking.
- Food that comes in packages, cans or jars can become high risk after you open them. You should never store food in open cans.
- Always store raw food and cooked food separately. Store raw food in sealed or covered containers at the bottom of the fridge.
- If you’re not sure whether or not food is safe to eat, always err on the side of caution and throw it out.
- Always follow use-by dates on food products and throw it out if it’s past its date, even if it seems okay.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food. Don’t use the same knife or chopping board for different foods such as meat and vegetables without washing first,
- Always cook meat well, until its core temperature reaches 75°C.