Food shopping may sound like a simple task, however many people are not aware of the potential food safety hazards and are unprepared to deal with the consequences.
So how can you keep your food at it’s best? Well, when it comes to buying, packing, and transporting your food home, there are things you can do to ensure it maintains its integrity and stays safe for consumption.
High risk foods
Certain foods are more susceptible to contamination than others, and are classified as high risk. These foods require special packaging, transporting and handling techniques to ensure they stay at their best. For example, consumers are advised to take extra care when handling meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy products.
Certain foods that you might not expect to present an enhanced risk of contamination such as potatoes, pasta products and cooked rice should also be treated with caution.
It is generally a good idea to stay away from any foods that might have been stored at unsafe temperatures. For example, frozen meals that have been kept out of the freezer section should be avoided. Only purchase ready-to-eat foods that have been kept consistently at the correct temperature. If you’re not sure about a certain item’s quality level, then do not buy it.
Another important factor to consider is the dates on your packaged food items. Avoid purchasing items that are likely to go out of date before you have chance to use them. Also, try to plan the sequence of your shopping trip before you go, picking up temperature controlled items such as hot ready-to-eat foods or frozen meals last, to reduce the risk of contamination.
Keep dry goods and produce away from raw meats, and avoid any containers that are damaged, swollen, or lacking in integrity.
Finally, be sure to never transport your food from the store to your home in the boot of your car when the weather starts to get warmer. The boot can become a very warm place, which is especially dangerous for foods that need to be kept at a chilled or cool temperature. Store your food within an air-conditioned part of your car, and get it into the refrigerator as quickly as possible.