Handling foods that require freezing

The Better Health Channel, Victoria, Australia has prepared a guideline for safe handling of certain special food in store. Please read on

Freezing food safely

1. When shopping, buy chilled and frozen foods at the end of your trip and take them home to store as quickly as possible. On hot days or for trips longer than 30 minutes, try to take an insulated cooler bag or ice pack to keep frozen foods cold. Keep hot and cold foods separate while you take them home.

When you arrive home, put chilled and frozen foods into the fridge or freezer immediately. Make sure foods stored in the freezer are frozen hard.
Storing cooked food safely

2. When you have cooked food and want to cool it:

Put hot food into shallow dishes or separate into smaller portions to help cool the food as quickly as possible.
Don’t put very hot food into the refrigerator. Wait until steam has stopped rising from the food before putting it in the fridge.

3. Avoid refreezing thawed food

Food poisoning bacteria can grow in frozen food while it is thawing, so avoid thawing frozen food in the temperature danger zone. Keep defrosted food in the fridge until it is ready to be cooked. If using a microwave oven to defrost food, cook it immediately after defrosting.

4. As a general rule, avoid refreezing thawed food. Food that is frozen a second time is likely to have higher levels of food poisoning bacteria. The risk depends on the condition of the food when frozen, and how the food is handled between thawing and refreezing. Raw food should never be refrozen once thawed.
Store raw food separately from cooked food

5. Raw food and cooked food should be stored separately in the fridge. Bacteria from raw food can contaminate cold cooked food, and the bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels if the food is not cooked thoroughly again.

6. Always store raw food in sealed or covered containers at the bottom of the fridge. Keep raw foods below cooked foods, to avoid liquid such as meat juices dripping down and contaminating the cooked food.
Choose strong, non-toxic food storage containers

7. Make sure your food storage containers are clean and in good condition, and only use them for storing food. Cover them with tight-fitting lids, foil or plastic film to minimise potential contamination. Transfer the contents of opened cans into suitable containers.
8. If in doubt, throw it out!

Throw out high-risk food left in the temperature danger zone for more than 4 hours – don’t put it in the fridge and don’t keep it for later. Check the use-by dates on food products and discard out-of-date food. If you are uncertain of the use-by date, throw it out.

AVOID FOOD BORNE DISEASES

For further comments , please contact Email: betterhealthchannel@health.vic.gov.au

Appreciation to BetterHealthChannel

Dele Fapohunda PhD
21 June 2022

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