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The risk of foodborne illness can be greatly reduced by the correct handling, storing and cooking of food.
All food has a limited shelf life. This varies depending on the food type, how it is packaged and how carefully it is stored.
If you store your food properly you will keep it in good condition,
safe from the growth of food poisoning bacteria; you will also reduce
wastage and this will save you money.
Food should be always be stored as recommended by the manufacturer’s
instructions on the package (when provided). It is the manufacturer's
responsibility to determine the shelf life of food.
The 'use-by date' is the date after which food should not be consumed
because of health and safety reasons (even if the packet is unopened).
The 'best-before date' indicates the end of the period in which the
food is in peak condition and is applied to foods which are not regarded
as high risk with regard to food poisoning.
Some food packages are labelled with specific instructions, such as
'Refrigerate after opening' or 'Consume within 3 days after
opening'. These instructions must be followed to minimise the risk of
Tips for storing refrigerated perishable foods:
Re-hydrated foods and opened cans need to be treated as perishable and refrigerated accordingly.
Do not store opened foods in cans as tin and iron can dissolve into the food spoiling the flavour.
Transfer the leftover food to a glass or plastic container before refrigerating.
Use of correct storage temperatures for food is extremely important.
Between 5 °C and 60 °C is called the 'temperature danger zone'. This is
the temperature range in which potentially harmful bacteria can
Perishable food should be stored at or below 5 °C, or at or above 60 °C to prevent growth of harmful bacteria.
Correct cooking temperatures are very important especially for some
meats, sausages and poultry. The temperature of all parts of minced,
rolled or stuffed meats should reach at least 75 °C during cooking. This
can be measured with a thermometer or can be recognised as very hot in
If food is to be held hot for some time after cooking and before
serving, it should be held at or above 60 °C. Or if the food is to be
retained for serving at a subsequent meal or other occasion it should be
Make sure poultry, such as a whole chicken, reaches at least 75 °C
during cooking. Alternatively, cook until the juices run clear when
pierced at the thickest point (such as the middle of drumstick).
When reheating refrigerated food, the centre of the food should reach at least 75 °C.
Freezing food at -18 °C stops bacteria from growing and slows down chemical changes which may affect the quality of food.
Frozen food should be placed straight in the freezer when you return home from shopping.
Some foods, such as vegetables, chops and steaks, can be cooked
directly from the frozen state. Food such as minced, rolled or stuffed
meats and poultry, should be completely thawed before cooking. This is
best done in a refrigerator at or below 5 °C.
If needed at short notice, packaged frozen food can be defrosted
under cool running water or in a microwave. Thawed food which will be
cooked (e.g. raw meat), may be refrozen but quality will be reduced.
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Last updated: Last updated: 26 February 2015
Printed from: Storing food (http://csiroaucd1-cdc.it.csiro.au/en/Research/Health/Food-safety/Storing-food)