National Food Safety Week June 11 – 17 - Food Safety on a budget

Press Release: 11/06/2012

Food Safety Week 2012

This year Food Safety Week is promoting food safety on a budget. Newly published research by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) shows that some people are taking more risks with food safety as they try to save money and make their food go further.

The research showed that most of those questioned (97%) believed the cost of their typical shopping basket has gone up significantly in the last three years, with half of these trying to make better use of leftover food. However, some people are ignoring Use By dates more than they used to, while others are keeping leftovers for longer than the recommended limit of two days in the fridge.

Bob Martin, a food safety expert at the FSA, said,

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."

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. During Food Safety Week we are working with Winchester City Council to encourage people to view their fridge as their friend and make the most of leftovers whilst staying safe."

The FSA’s advice on leftovers says:

· If you are going to store leftovers in the fridge, cool them as quickly as possible, ideally within 90 minutes. Cover them, get them in the fridge and then eat them within two days.

· Make sure your fridge is operating at the correct temperature, it should be below 5oC.

· You can also freeze your leftovers, but cool them first to minimise temperature fluctuation in your freezer. They can be safely stored in the freezer almost indefinitely, but the quality will still deteriorate gradually with time, so it’s best to eat them within three months.

· Make sure you defrost frozen leftovers properly before using them. If you’re going to cook them straightaway use a microwave. If you don’t have a microwave, defrost them in the fridge overnight.

· Eat leftovers within 24 hours of defrosting and do not refreeze them again. The only exception to this is if you are defrosting raw food, such as meat or poultry, which can be refrozen once it has been cooked.

· Cook leftovers until steaming hot throughout.

There are around a million cases of food poisoning every year in the UK. The levels soar during summer months across the UK with around 120,000 extra cases of illness from June to August. One of the reasons for this increase is warmer temperatures causing any germs present to grow faster, which underlines the importance of getting leftovers in the fridge quickly.

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