- When do bacteria grow? What should I know for my protection?
- Should I separate foods before storing them (i.e. fruits from vegetables, meat from fish, etc)?
- Should I rinse fresh fruit and vegetables before putting them in the fridge?
- How long is it appropriate to keep foods inside and outside of the fridge?
The growth of bacteria increases the chances of food poisoning. The most frequent cases in which bacteria grow on food are the following ones:
- When using the same cutting board, container or utensil to handle raw meat, poultry or fish, and then it comes in direct contact with a food ready for consumption (vegetables, cheese, bread). You must always wash the container.
- When keeping a defective package (torn bag) on a fridge shelf or have foods incorrectly arranged (raw meat on higher shelves), in which case ready-made foods may be contaminated by dripping raw meat, chicken or fish.
- When baking a food at a temperature lower than the one suggested, which results in poor cooking of the core (particularly dangerous with poultry).
- When leaving perishable foods outside the fridge(dairy).
- When storing dry foods close to the floor (flour).
Raw fish, meat and all types of poultry must be kept separately in airtight packages (Zipper Bags, Slide & Lock bags) and away from all other foods in the fridge. This way you prevent contamination from drips.
It is also preferable to keep fruits separately from vegetables, as well as salami from cheeses.
It is better not to rinse fresh fruit and vegetables before putting them in the fridge, as moisture reduces their life cycle. Instead, put them in bags or wrap them in film and then into the fridge until consumption. Rinse thoroughly before use.
If you want certain sensitive vegetables -like lettuce or spring onions – to last longer, you can rinse them, dry them and keep them in kitchen roll inside a plastic container or a zipper bag. Paper absorbs moisture, while the container or bag protects them from drying up.
The storage period varies according to the type of food. Always check the label or the packaging for the expiry date. Where no such date is shown, check the smell and appearance of the food for any alterations. Below you will find some general rules for storing your food.
- Cooked food: No more than 4 hours outside the fridge. Keep for 2-3 days in the fridge, excluding rice dishes, which should be consumed within 1 day.
- Raw meat, poultry, fish: Wrap securely to avoid leaks and put immediately in the fridge. Consume within 1-2 days.
- Fruits and vegetables: When properly protected, they can be kept in the fridge for 3-5 days; this period is significantly reduced if kept outside of the fridge.
- Eggs: Put in the fridge separately from other foods and consume within 3-4 weeks.
- Cheese: Hard cheese can last for several weeks in the fridge, as long as it is protected from moisture. If placed in brine and sealed in an airtight container, feta cheese can be kept for up to one year. When not in brine, it can be refrigerated for 4-5 days.