Make sure your fridge isn’t making you sick. By Sylvia Tan
Photo: fuzzbones / www.123rf.com
Have you checked your fridge temperature? Well, you should, especially in view of the recent spate of food-poisoning cases reported in the newspapers.
You can stop bacteria from growing by keeping food cold. And the fridge should be kept below 5 deg C. I know of people who will remove all the food they want to cook and put them in the sink in readiness for cooking. Actually, they should leave them in the fridge. Food should be kept out of the fridge for the shortest time possible. (Also read: 6 Must Know Food Safety Tips)
Similarly, if you are having a buffet, keep the food refrigerated until you are ready to serve it. Before storing cooked food in the fridge, make sure it is cooled down first. Hot food will raise the ambient temperature in the fridge, promoting bacterial growth.
The leftovers of a buffet should be kept in the fridge as quickly as possible, within 90 minutes, and eaten within two days. Otherwise, microwave them to kill any bacteria, cool them down and freeze them.
Store eggs in their carton on a shelf in the fridge and never in the door. The temperature varies too much when the door is opened and closed. The carton will prevent the eggs from absorbing the flavours of other foods in the fridge.
And, if you have used half of, say, baked beans from a can, transfer the remainder into a plastic container to store. When the can is exposed to the air, the tin will leach into its contents, tainting the food or, at the very least, changing its taste.
Finally, you cannot get away from cleaning the fridge regularly. Even the small bits of food left on the shelves can accumulate and result in cross-contamination.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2016, with the headline ‘Keep food in fridge to prevent food poisoning‘.