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Bargain Bugs

Are you careless with leftovers and food dates? The Food Standards Agency is reminding people not to take risks with their food, even as budgets are squeezed. New research by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) shows that some people are taking more risks with food

can rapidly become unsafe after this date. The other dates marked on packaging focus less on food safety so can be a bit more flexible. Best Before dates only relates to food quality and appearance, and Display Until dates are there to help stores manage their stock

Bob Martin, a food safety expert at the FSA, says: “With most of us seeing our weekly shopping bills increase over the last few years, we are all looking for ways to get the most out of our shopping budget.” The research indicates people are risking food poisoning by ignoring Use By dates on food more than ever. Supermarkets drastically reduce the price on food nearing their use by dates, but this date stamp on chilled or ready-to-eat food packaging is the most important date to check, since foods

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The Community Review Summer 2012

Bob Martin says: “Using leftover food is a good way of making our meals go further. However, unless we’re careful, there’s a chance we can risk food poisoning by not storing or handling them properly. We are encouraging people to view their fridge as their friend and make the most of leftovers whilst staying safe.”

The FSA has provided advice on how to deal with leftover food

safety as they try to save money and make their weekly shop go further. The research shows that nearly all of us believe the cost of our shopping basket has risen significantly in the last three years, and half of us are trying to make better use of leftover food. Worryingly though, some people are ignoring Use By dates more than ever, while others are keeping leftovers in the fridge for longer than they should be.

fridge quickly.

If they are going in the fridge, cool leftovers as quickly as possible and ideally within 90 minutes. Cover them, refrigerate and eat them within two days Bob Martin says: “These dates provide helpful information on how long food will stay safe, so it’s very important you stick to the Use By date. “It’s tempting to just give food a sniff to see if it’s gone off, but bugs like E. Coli and Salmonella don’t cause food to smell. Food could look and smell fine but still be harmful.” Every year there are around a million cases of food poisoning in the UK, and anyone who has been unlucky enough knows how unpleasant that can be. The numbers rise during the summer with around 120,000 extra cases between June and August. One of the reasons for this spike is warmer temperatures causing germs to grow faster on our food. That is why it is so important to get leftovers in the

Make sure your fridge is at the correct temperature – below 5єC. You can also freeze leftover food, but cool them first to ensure the freezer temperature doesn’t rise by placing hot food in there. Food quality still deteriorates in the freezer with time, so it’s best to eat them within three months. Defrost frozen leftovers thoroughly before use. If you’re cooking straight away use a microwave. If you don’t have one you can defrost them in the fridge overnight. Eat leftovers within a day of defrosting and don’t refreeze them again. The exception here is raw food, such as meat or poultry, which can be refrozen once it’s cooked. Make sure leftovers have been cooked thoroughly and are steaming hot throughout before consuming

The Community Review

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Bargain Bugs