Don’t economise on safety

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Keeping food budgets down by using leftovers wisely makes good financial sense.

But there’s a heightened risk of food poisoning if we’re not careful in the summer.

As temperatures rise, so do the cases of food poisoning. Around 120,000 extra cases occur from June to August because warmer temperatures help germs grow faster.

It’s Food Safety Week this week and the Food Standards Agency says that a large chunk of current food poisoning cases are clearly down to more people not correctly storing and reheating the leftovers they are using to stretch household budgets.

Bob Martin, a food safety expert at the FSA, warns: “It’s important not to economise on food safety.”

Look after your left-overs

If storing leftovers in the fridge, cool them as quickly as possible, ideally within 90 minutes.

Keep leftovers covered, refrigerate quickly and eat within two days.

Make sure the fridge temperature is below 5° C.

If freezing leftovers, cool first to minimise temperature fluctuation in the freezer.

Leftovers can be safely stored in the freezer almost indefinitely, but the quality will deteriorate, so it’s best to eat within three months.

Defrost frozen leftovers properly before use, either in the microwave or in the fridge overnight.

Eat leftovers within 24 hours of defrosting and don’t refreeze. The only exception is defrosted raw food such as meat or poultry, which can be refrozen after cooking.

Cook leftovers until steaming-hot throughout.