Wives’ tales run rampant in the world of food safety. But let’s clear the air and bust those that are only hearsay and figure out, once and for all, what is true and what is not.
The Food Safety Myths
- Defrosted Meat Cannot Be Frozen: I have been told many times that once the meat is defrosted, it can’t go back in. And I hate food waste so I try to cook it all in one go. Turns out this is only a myth. Meat can definitely be frozen again but it may lose some of the juiciness to the meat. We suggest cooking casseroles or slow-cooked meals with it.
- Meat Should Be Washed Before Cooking: This might come as a surprise for people who are aware of food safety, but a lot of people think it is okay to wash meat. And as we all know, that is definitely not the case. The splash that comes off the raw meat can spread bacteria around your kitchen.
- Cool Hot Food Before Refrigerating: It is true that very hot food should not be refrigerated immediately. But you shouldn’t leave it on the counter for it be cool. The perfect time to put food into the fridge is once it stops steaming.
- The Smell Test: If it smells okay, it’s good to eat right? WRONG! Some pathogenic bacteria can grow and not change the smell or look of the food. So keep a close eye on the food in your fridge. You can pay attention to the date when food was purchased or cooked, to avoid a food poisoning risk.
- Cross-Contamination Doesn’t Happen In The Fridge: If you have a dirty fridge, of course cross-contamination can happen! Make sure raw meat is separate from other items to ensure cross-contamination can’t occur.
- Overloading Your Fridge Make It Work Harder: Your fridge isn’t working harder. Appliances just don’t work that way. Fridges work by circulating cool air around the space, so the more food there is, the less air that can get around. So avoid stuffing your fridge to help keep the food cool.
- It’s Alright To Defrost On The Counter: This is definitely not the case. On a counter the outer layer of the meat defrosts faster. This heats up and can be infected with bacteria before the inside of the meat is even thawed.
- Throw Out Food That Is Past Best Before Date: Best before date is a manufacturer’s way of saying that past this date, the food may not be at the same quality. Used by date is when foods are unsafe to eat and need to be eaten or thrown away.
- Plastic Chopping Boards Are Better Than Wooden Ones: There has been no official indicator that says that plastic chopping boards are better in any way. In both cases, you should be very careful to take care of, wash and store chopping boards to minimise bacteria. It’s also important to use different chopping boards when cutting raw meats and vegetables to stop cross-contamination.
- Food Poisoning Only Comes From Bad Restaurants: Food poisoning happens with bad food hygiene. That can happen anywhere.
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