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Preparedness Tips: Food Storage Safety

Almost all food contains bacteria. Some of these bacteria can cause food poisoning. If food is not stored properly, the bacteria in it can multiply to dangerous levels. Beware of the temperature danger zone. Bacteria grow and multiply fastest in the temperature danger zone of between 5°C and 60°C. It is important to ensure that food spends the minimum possible time in this temperature range. When you have cooked food and want to store it: Put hot food into shallow dishes or smaller portions to help cool the food as quickly as possible.
Don’t put hot food into the refrigerator. Wait until it has reached room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
Food should be cooled to room temperature within four hours.
Take special care with high risk foods
Certain types of food provide a particularly good environment for the growth of food-poisoning bacteria. These ‘high risk foods’ should be kept out of the temperature danger zone for long periods. They include: Meat
Poultry (chicken, turkey etc.)
Dairy products
Eggs
Smallgoods
Seafood.
Food that comes in packages, jars and cans can become high risk after you open it. Never refreeze thawed food
While frozen food is thawing, the food poisoning bacteria in it start to multiply. If the food is refrozen, the bacteria do not die. They are still there when the food is thawed again. When you rethaw the food, it is likely to have higher levels of food-poisoning bacteria. This is why you should never refreeze thawed food. Store raw food separately from cooked food
It is important to make sure the bacteria in raw food do not contaminate other food that will not be cooked again. Always store raw food beneath cooked food, to avoid liquids dripping down and contaminating the cooked food. Choose strong, non-toxic food storage containers
Make sure your food storage containers are in good condition and only use them for storing food. Cover them with tight-fitting lids, foil or plastic film to prevent the food drying out and to prevent anything from falling in. Once you have opened a can of food, transfer any leftovers to another container. Do not store them in the can. Where to get help Food Safety Victoria Tel. 1300 364 352
Things to remember Keep food out of the temperature danger zone (5°C to 60°C).
Store raw foods below cooked foods.
Never refreeze thawed foods.
Check and observe use-by dates on food products. If you keep an eye on expiry dates, you will avoid wasting food because you will use the older items first.

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