By: Hayley Coles, Dietitian
5 common Food Safety Questions
Hayley Coles, our Dietitian answers some common food safety questions.
1. If it smells OK, is it ok to eat?
No, unfortunately, this is not always true. By the time food is smelly or slimy the food is well past its ok to eat stage. Pathogenic bacteria can grow in food and not cause any obvious changes to the food, so the best option is to inhibit pathogen growth by refrigerating foods and always eating them before their expiration date. This leads to the next question.
2. What is the difference between the expiration date and best before date?
The expiration dates are the last day a product is safe to consume. Best before date, on the other hand, tells you that the food is no longer in its perfect shape from that date. It may only lose its freshness, taste, smell or nutrients but it does not necessarily mean that the food is no longer safe to eat.
3. Should you wash meat before you prepare and/or cook it?
No, it is not a good idea to wash meat before cooking or preparing it. Splashing water that might contain potentially hazardous bacteria around the kitchen can actually create more of a hazard. This is due to the bacteria being splashed onto other foods or surfaces where food is prepared.
4. If you have defrosted frozen meat or chicken, cay you refreeze it again?
It is ONLY safe to refreeze defrosted meat if it was defrosted in a fridge running at 5°C or below. Keep in mind that some quality may be lost by defrosting then refreezing foods as the cells start to break down a little and the food can become slightly watery.
5. Should Hot food be left out to cool completely before putting it in the fridge?
Yes! But it’s not OK to leave perishable food out for an extended time or overnight before putting it in the fridge. Micro-organisms can grow rapidly in food at temperatures between 5° and 60°C. Hot leftovers and any other leftovers for that matter should go into the fridge once they have stopped steaming to reduce condensation which is usually within about 30 minutes.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the Medical Centre, or any other provider within the clinic.
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