WINTER COOKING: Be on the lookout for winter meals that aren’t handled properly.
WINTER COOKING: Be on the lookout for winter meals that aren’t handled properly.

Avoid tough tummy troubles this weekend

BREWING a big pot of winter tummy warmth might seem like a good and economical way to cook, but be wary of also brewing unwelcome visitors.

The Food Safety Information Council are warning us to be on the lookout for soups, casseroles, stews, and even large amounts of rice and pasta, that aren't handled properly. They can turn into a food safety risk.

Here are a few FSIC tips to help keep unwelcome tummy visitors away -

  • You need to be extra careful handling large amounts of food because, if they are left to cool slowly, bacteria can grow and produce dangerous toxins that won't be destroyed by further cooking.
  • Divide any food that you aren't going to eat immediately into small portions about the size of a takeaway container. Do this as soon as the food has stopped steaming and refrigerate or freeze straight away. The food will cool quickest in small containers which will reduce the risk of the bacteria growing and producing toxins.
  • Refrigerated leftovers should be used or frozen within two to two days. They will keep several months in the freezer. When reheating food ensure that it is hot all the way through, follow any microwave prompts to stir it or leave it to stand and use a thermometer to ensure it is at least 75°C in the centre.
  • If you use a slow cooker always follow the instructions and make sure it keeps the food at a safe holding temperature of 60°C or above until you are ready to eat it.
  • Don't forget that gastro causing norovirus is also more common in cooler weather so if you or your grandchildren have gastro symptoms, it's best to stay at home until symptoms have stopped so you don't spread this virus around your workplace or at their school.

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