In the rush to get a meal on the table or prepare food for a family party, it is easy to become careless or just not think about food safety issues. Food poisoning is not only unpleasant; it can also be life-threatening, especially in hot weather when dehydration can occur very quickly. Here are some tips to avoiding food poisoning.
- Always make sure you purchase fresh food. If you purchase food on a sale, look at the use by date and make sure you will use it before then, especially meat.
- If it is going to take you longer than a few minutes to get food home, store it in an esky bag with ice bricks under and on top of it.
- If meat doesn’t still feel cool when you get home, cook it immediately and use it up quickly.
- When preparing meat and vegetables, keep them separate. This means using different chopping boards and utensils. Or you could prepare the vegetables first, then use the same things to prepare the meat.
- Never use utensils or plates that were used in the preparation of meat for handling it after it is cooked. This can transfer particles of raw meat or the juices from it onto the cooked meat.
- Use cooked meat up within 4 days and keep it very cold in the refrigerator during this time.
- If using tinned meat, take it out of the tin upon opening and store it in a sealed container in the fridge.
- Don’t allow thawing meat to drip onto anything you are going to eat or any utensils that will be used for preparation or eating.
- Place frozen meat on a shallow tray such as a cake tray, to ensure the drips don’t spread.
- When wiping up such drips, or wiping meat juice up from a chopping board, don’t then use the dishcloth for anything else until it is washed.
- If you have cold, cooked meat on the table for a meal, return it to the fridge as soon as everyone has helped themselves, especially on a hot day. Don’t wait until the meal is over.
- Keep your fridge at a low temperature all the time and turn it down more in hot weather.
- If you keep cooked leftovers, use them within two days.
- Don’t store opened tinned fruit in the tin. Place it into a glass or plastic container with a lid.
- If you cut meat on your kitchen bench top, make sure you sterilise it afterwards. Use disposable paper towels and a good spray, after washing it down with detergent and water.
When you incorporate these tips into your food preparation you’ll soon find they become part of it and you won’t even have to think about doing it each time. And you’ll avoid food poisoning.