Shopping and food storage safety
There are strict food safety guidelines and regulations in Australia, and for good reason. Following these guidelines when serving food can keep consumers safe, and this extends to the storage of produce and how it is transported from the supermarket or supplier to your kitchen.
There are some useful tips you should follow to ensure the items purchased are of high quality and safe for use and transported back to your kitchen to the same quality. Following food safety standards are vital and using the correct food storage solutions as part of your safe food handling protocols will not only minimise food safety risks but minimise the rate in which food and ingredients perish.
When selecting fresh produce, always put food directly into a clean bag and never place unpackaged food directly into a shopping cart or basket. If you’re unhappy with the cleanliness of the baskets or trolleys, speak to a manager as this is an essential hygiene and cleaning requirement of any food sale business.
Sustainability is important to many consumers and businesses alike, so replacing single-use plastic bags with reusable bags is a great step forward. However, when re-using items for food storage, it’s important that you regularly wash your reusable shopping bags. It’s also essential to use different leak-proof containers for meats, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination. Introducing a colour coded system can assist to make this easier to adhere to.
Ensure you always inspect all food and produce before purchasing it. Be on the lookout for mouldy produce, damaged packaging, and best before dates. While we all love a discount, inspecting the quality of food items that have been marked down for quick sale is crucial. These items are usually marked down because they are fast approaching best before dates and need to be consumed quickly after purchase, so the saving in cost might not be worth the price of serving unsafe food.
Always head straight home after shopping for food so your items don’t decline in quality and safety between purchase and returning to the kitchen. The first thing you should do is carefully sort and store your items to increase longevity and safety. Storing properly immediately ensures the best out of your food investment.
Always be educated on the danger zone temperatures food can reach to avoid bacteria. If you think an item might be close to a dangerous temperature you should always use a food thermometer to check. Once you are sorting and storing items, always start with the frozen and cold items first. You can increase the longevity of frozen items and prevent freezer burn by keeping them in a vacuum seal bag to remove the air. Vacuum-sealed bags are also easy to label. Labelling stored food is critical to avoid guessing if items in your freezer are safe to consume.
If you are using a new item of food from a new supplier, don’t make assumptions about proper storage; always ask the supplier or research best practices on storing food or ingredients properly.
Follow these tips to get the longest duration out of your food purchases by storing them safely in food storage solutions and remember to be extra vigilant if you are shopping for or storing food for extra vulnerable people, including pregnant women, the elderly, young children or those with compromised immune systems and also those with allergies. Get the most out of your investment and stay confident by practising proper food storage. Browse the range of food storage solutions available from Fildes Food Safety.