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Food safety myths debunked

Fildes Food Safety is Australia’s leading supplier of high-quality food safety products, resources, and commercial kitchen supplies. Fildes Food Safety understands the importance of building and maintaining a strong food safety culture within organisations and is proud to celebrate Australia Food Safety Week from the 13th to the 20th of November.

This year's theme is 'Food safety - be prepared'. As such, Fildes Food Safety has compiled a list of common food safety myths to ensure that all businesses responsible for serving food can be set to take on the new year without uncertainty.

1.      If food looks or smells normal, it is safe to eat.

False. A strange smell can be an obvious sign that food has expired. However, it isn't safe to assume that an absence of a smell means that the food is safe to eat. Some foodstuffs, mainly cooked meals, will develop bacteria long before a scent, as it is often mould and yeast that results in the odour.

 2.      Eating food after its 'best before' date can cause food poisoning.

False. A best before date indicates when food will taste and feel its best, generally used for slow-perishable items such as canned foods and packaged goods. After a best before date, it is recommended to assess the item's quality to determine if it has deteriorated beyond consumption. Fildes Food Safety offers Use By and Use First stickers ideal for ensuring that ingredients aren’t utilised after their expiry date in the commercial kitchen. 

3.      Food poisoning isn't life-threatening.

False. Thankfully, food poisoning causes mild symptoms in most individuals; however, more serious long-term effects can include kidney failure, brain and nerve damage. In rare cases, death can even occur. In most cases of severe complications from food poisoning, the individual falls within the at-risk category, including pregnant women, the elderly, and those immunocompromised.  

4.      Food poisoning impacts the individual quickly.

False. Many people assume that when symptoms present, the most recent meal that they consumed will be responsible. This is a common misconception, as symptoms generally take between one to three days to develop, making it tricky to pinpoint the culprit food.

5.      Thawing food at room temperature is safe.

False. Frozen food, including meat, poultry, and fish, should never be thawed at room temperature. This is because the food will spend a substantial period in the temperature danger zone of 5°C–60°C, during which bacteria can develop at a rapid pace. It is best to instead thaw all foodstuffs by placing them in the refrigerator. Fildes Food Safety can provide digital thermometers to assist in accurately monitoring internal food temperatures and ensure that dangerous temperatures aren't reached. 

It can be tricky to navigate the food safety landscape to ensure that patrons of businesses responsible for serving food are protected against harm. By utilising high-quality food safety supplies and staying up to date with the latest processes, chefs and kitchen managers can rest assured that they’re following best practice industry procedures.

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