This post is contributed by mum and nutritionist Mandy from Little People Nutrition.
With Spring in full swing and Summer beckoning us, the weather is warmer and we are eating out and entertaining more. Yay!
This means many things, but one of them from a food perspective, is that we are leaving food outside. It might sound like a boring topic, food safety, but with 4.1 million food poisoning cases within Australia each year^ it is kinda an important one.
Here are a few points of mine that I use daily to keep our food safe for our family and our friends.
1. Cook food until it’s hot.
And when I mean hot I mean hot, greater than 75oC to be exact. Although I do not have a thermometer on hand, I do cook until steaming or too hot to touch. This is for cooking food from scratch, like meat and also for reheating.
2. Put leftovers in the fridge.
I eat leftovers a lot. Which parent doesn’t? Leftovers for dinner, lunch, lunch boxes and even breakfast sometimes.
To ensure my leftovers are ok to eat, especially if they will be eaten cold for lunch boxes, once they are initially cooked, I let the steam die down and then I cover and pop them in the fridge pronto. And also ensure the fridge is running below 4-5 degrees celcius.
My Brazilian husband once told me that if you pop the tea towel over the beans and rice at night time on the stove, they are good for tomorrow’s lunch. Ummmm, maybe, but also maybe very much not.
3. 4 days
For leftovers I generally stick to the four day rule if it has been prepared and cooked properly. Day one is day of cook. So if you cooked the meal of Monday, it is good to eat until Thursday night then chuck it out.
4. Ice ice baby
We have quite a few ice block packs at our place. I pop one in my daughters insulated lunch bag every day, regardless of what is in there. I also always pop one in a picnic insulated bag, even if it is just cut fruits and veggies with dip.
For school lunch boxes in summer I also freeze water bottles and even some of the squeezey yoghurts too. It not only keeps things cooler but also is yummy and refreshing for the kidlets too.
5. If it is cut, pop it in the fridge.
People often think that fruits and vegetables do not cause food poisoning. Think again, big time.
Despite the fact that you should always wash your produce, once it is cut, all the nutrition we get, is also for bug-ereenos, so they should be covered and popped into the fridge after use. Salads should therefore be refrigerated as well.
Food Safety Week in Australia is the 8th November to the 15th November 2015. Check out their website for other tips that could be helpful for your family as well. There are some great resources and even a quiz you could spring on your husband if he has funny food safety ideas like mine! He will love it, NOT!