Many foods contain bacteria that are not dangerous in small numbers. But the longer germs are around, the more they multiply.
One of the most common food-related illnesses is salmonella, from raw meats, poultry, and dairy products. Germs Other bugs include E. coli, found in salami, contaminated veggies, and salads which cause diarrhea, organ damage, and, occasionally, death; and Listeria from pate, soft cheese, unpasteurized dairy products, and uncooked seafood.
The flu-like symptoms and vomiting can lead to miscarriage in pregnant women.
Storing food properly and throwing it out reaches its expiry date can assure you that you are keeping germs out of your system.
In the refrigerator – Germs
Store most perishables below 40C. Opening the fridge door raises the temperature so it is a good idea to place a few magnetic thermometers in different sections for easy – and efficient – monitoring of temperature levels. Store protein foods in the coldest part (the temperature can vary by 30C in different places).
Use most items within a few days. If you are not sure how fresh the foods were, to begin with, or if you brought it home in a hot car, use it as soon as possible. Take note of the following maximum storage times:
- Leftovers-1 day
- Sausages-2 days
- Chicken-3 days
- Cured meat-2 weeks
- Oily fish (salmon)-4 to 5 days
- Lean fish-5 to 7 days
- Shrimps and prawns-3 days
- Oysters-eat them fresh (and never on an empty stomach)!
- Milk, cheese, and butter-keep until the “use by” date
- Eggs-hard-boiled eggs will not keep as well as uncooked eggs so use them within a few days
In the freezer
The following are recommended storage times for a freezer at minus 180C. Food safely lasts longer but flavor and texture deteriorate:
- Whole joint-4 to 6 months
- Minced meat-2 months
- Sausages-1 to 2 months
- Oily fish-3 months
- Steaks-3 to 4 months
- Pork cops-3-4 months
- Bacon-1-2 months
- Whole chicken-6 months
- Chicken pieces-4 months
- Lean fish-4 to 5 months
- Shrimps and prawns-3 months
- Squid-4 to 5 months
Tip: When freezing fish, glaze it with a layer of water to stop it dehydrating. First, freeze the fish, dip in cold water to “glaze” it, then wrap well and put it back into the freezer.
In the pantry – Germs
- Dried foods generally do not go bad, but the quality deteriorates, especially after the pack is open. Dried foods usually last for around six months in an unopened container placed in a cool, dark place.
Tip: Germs Once water is added to dehydrated food, the bacteria become active again, so it must be stored in the refrigerator.
- Canned food. For best results, use canned food within 12 months if they do not have a use-by date. Food is fresh when canned and loses flavor and color over time. When food is canned, the heat kills the bacteria and keeps food safe without preservatives: Always beware of cans which:
a. are leaky – watch out for strains on the label;
b. the bulge at the end (this means the germs are at work inside);
c. have been dropped or are damaged in any way;
Tip: Store canned food in a cool, dry place – not in the fried, as moisture could cause rust.
Once you have opened a can treat the contents like fresh food and use quickly; transfer leftovers from the can to an airtight container in the refrigerator the food may react with the metal once it is exposed to the air. Remember; do not put steaming hot food inside the ref because it will spoil.