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© Crown copyright 2007 Storing food
© Crown copyright 2007 Shopping for food Good food safety starts when you shop for food. * Always shop at places that look clean and hygienic. * Check the date-marks on food. * Don’t buy dented cans or damaged packets of food. * Check that the food is fresh, e.g. no bruising or mould. * Don’t buy food from counters where cooked and raw meat are not separated. * Try to buy chilled and frozen foods last. Pack these foods together, or use cool bags or freezer bags. * Once you have finished shopping travel home immediately. Unpack your shopping straight away and make sure it is stored in an appropriate place.
© Crown copyright 2007 Getting food home Once you’ve bought food, you need to get home as soon as possible. This will ensure that the food is at its best. On very hot days, chilled and frozen foods should be taken home immediately. Don’t hang around with your friends! Many people use cool bags or freezer bags to take their shopping home to keep it cold.
© Crown copyright 2007 Storing food Food labels provide information which help you to know when to eat food, and how to store it safely. Check the date marks on the food - this will tell you by when the food should be eaten. Some foods that we buy loose, or perhaps we grow at home, do not have labels, e.g. bread, fruit and vegetables. These foods should be stored in cool, dry conditions. For example, the vegetables can be stored in the fridge.
© Crown copyright 2007 Storage instructions Labels also show how best to store the food to keep it safe. For example: cool, dry place, like a cupboard - canned foods, flour; chilled, in the fridge - ham, cheese, salad; frozen, in the freezer - a chicken, frozen peas, fish fingers. Some foods can be stored in the fridge or the freezer. The temperature of your fridge should be between 0 – 5 C and your freezer at -18C.
© Crown copyright 2007 The kitchen Before you start preparing and cooking food, you need to make sure that the kitchen area is ready to use. Make sure all the work surfaces are clear and clean. Check that you have clean kitchen cloths and tea towels. You also need to check that the equipment you are going to use is clean. If not, wash it. Lastly, have a separate chopping board for raw meat and ready-to-eat food, e.g. vegetables.
© Crown copyright 2007 Storing foods - some tips: The temperature of a fridge should be between 0C-5C. Check the thermostat readings on your fridge. Raw food must always be stored below cooked food. Raw meat, chicken and fish must always be stored on the bottom shelf of the fridge, so they can’t drip on other foods. Keep eggs in the fridge, away from strong odours. Some food jars need to go in the fridge when open, check the label. Never put open cans in the fridge. Use up ‘left overs’ from the fridge within two days. Clean the fridge regularly.
© Crown copyright 2007 Storing foods - some tips: The cupboard Keep all food cupboards, cool, clean and dry. Keep pests out, such as flies and insects. After opening packets of dried foods, reseal then tightly or put them in a storage jar. Use storage jars and containers with tight fitting lids.
© Crown copyright 2007 Storing foods - some tips: The freezer The temperature of a freezer should be -18C. Freezers are ideal for storing foods for a long time, but not too long. Check the date mark or storage instructions on the label. When freezing home cooked foods, use clean freezer bags and label them with the date and name. If you do not use all of the food when you take it out of the freezer make sure you return the remaining before it defrosts e.g. ice cream. Defrost and clean the freezer regularly.
© Crown copyright 2007 Standard Storing foods carefully Food labels provide us with important information about: * how to store a food safely; * by when to eat a food. This information is vital as it helps to prevent food poisoning.
© Crown copyright 2007 Date marks To help us eat a food at its best, date marks are printed on food labels. These show by when food should be eaten. There are two types: ‘use by’‘best before’
© Crown copyright 2007 ‘use by’ The ‘use by’ date mark is used on foods such as milk, cheese, meat and ready made pizzas. These are known as perishable foods - those that ‘go off’ quite quickly. It shows the day and month, e.g. 8 Feb. After this date, the food is not safe to eat and shops must not sell food after the date shown. Even if a food is within the date, but it looks or smells ‘off’, then do not eat it.
© Crown copyright 2007 ‘best before’ The ‘best before’ date mark is used on foods such as canned beans, dried fruit, breakfast cereals and frozen peas. These are foods which have a longer life. It shows the month and year, e.g. Feb ’08. The date indicates how long the food will be at its best quality. After this date, the food will probably be safe to eat, but may not look or taste as good.
© Crown copyright 2007 Summary The ‘use by’ date mark is used on perishable foods, such as milk, cheese and cooked meat. The ‘best before’ date mark is used on foods with a longer life, such as canned soup and breakfast cereals. The fridge should be kept between 0-5C and cleaned regularly. Cupboards should be clean, cool and dry. The freezer should be defrosted and cleaned regularly.
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