Keep food safe and make it go further!
Food Safety Week runs from 11-17 June 2012 and it's all about making the most of your food and keeping it safe. We are working with the Food Standards Agency to help your budget stretch further.
Each month the average family throws out almost £60 of good food. Here are our two top tips to help keep food safe and make the most of the food you buy:
1. Know, understand and use your date labels.
2. Use up those leftovers safely.
Do you pause over packets of food wondering whether or not it has passed its best?
17% of us throw bakery items away because they are out of date, while 13% of us throw away yoghurt and 12% milk for the same reason… but these can all be frozen before reaching the use by date.
Most of us know what the ‘best before’ date means, but just 35% know what the ‘use by’ date means. Check out our new date label feature.
- ‘Use by’ relates to safety and we should never eat food past the end of its ‘use by’. However, freeze it before the ‘use by’ date, then defrost and use it within 24 hours.
- ‘Best before’ dates show how long the food will be at its best quality. It might not be at its best after this date but it will be safe to eat.
- ‘Display Until’ can be safely ignored – that’s just for shop staff, not for us!
What do you do with your leftover pasta, rice or bolognaise?
78% of us use our leftovers as part of another meal but 16% throw leftovers away… what a missed opportunity for tomorrow’s lunch! Making the most of good food leftover at the end of a meal can be a great way to save money.
- Cool leftovers as quickly as possible (ideally within 90 minutes. Divide into portions, transfer to a container and immerse in cold water to speed up the cooling process!). Cover well such as in an air-tight storage container, get them in the fridge and eat them up within two days.
- Pay particular attention to storage and reheating advice for leftover rice. Ideally eat it straight after cooking. If not, cool as quickly as possible, ideally within 1 hour and store in the fridge and keep for no longer than 1 day before reheating until piping hot and eating.
- Freeze leftovers too. Make sure they are cool before putting in the freezer and label with the date frozen and product name. Food can be safely stored the freezer forever but the quality will deteriorate so it’s best to eat them within 3 months.
- When we fancy a bit of bolognaise or a pasta salad for lunch, simply defrost in the fridge…or in the microwave if eating it straightaway.
- Defrosted leftovers should be eaten within 24 hours of defrosting and not refrozen. The exception to this is when defrosting raw food, such as meat or poultry, once cooked it can be refrozen safely.
- Cook leftovers until steaming hot throughout.
For more information on food safety and food safety week go to www.food.gov.uk/foodsafetyweek