Consumers take extra care to prevent food safety risks during the hot weather in Europe

July 22, 2022


by Christeena Rosmin Antony and ST Maharaj

This hot summer in Europe is the most possible chance f to occur food-borne illness. It is important to ensure the meat is not left outside of the fridge for long periods and is cooked well to prevent food poisoning. Everyone must practice handwashing before preparing food and also after handling raw meat can help prevent bacteria from contaminating other areas. Elevated environmental temperature increases the multiplication of food-borne pathogens and this prolonged sunny, hot summer season may augment the chance of food handling mistakes. The hot climate change also affects the ability of consumers to use food effectively by altering the conditions for food safety and changing the disease pressure from the vector, water, and food-borne diseases The potential risk from high temperature in Europe is related to climate change can cause many food safety risks to the public.

Safe food-handling practices are a good defense against foodborne illness. Because we know how different temperatures affect the growth of bacteria in our food, we can protect ourselves and our families from foodborne illnesses by proper handling and cooking, and by storing foods at safe temperatures.

There is more chance of food poisoning if the food is kept at the temperature in the danger zone(8°C and 60°C) causing the risk of developing and multiplication of harmful food-borne pathogenic bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, etc. It ensures that food is kept at a temperature danger zone, which can cause illness to anyone who handles or consumes it. Consumers always ensure that food is kept below the danger zone limits the growth of bacteria, making it safe to eat.

If raw meats have been mishandled (left in the Danger Zone too long), bacteria may grow and produce toxins, which can cause foodborne illness. Cooking does not destroy toxins that are heat-resistant. Therefore, even though cooked, meat and poultry mishandled in the raw state may not be safe to eat even after proper preparation.

The other chance for food safety risks by leaving food at room temperature for too long can cause bacteria to grow at dangerous levels. The temperature danger zone is  8°C and 60°C where food is most likely to develop and multiply harmful bacteria. Ensuring that food is kept below the danger zone limits the growth of bacteria, making it safe to eat. Leaving food at room temperature for too long can cause bacteria to grow at dangerous levels.

Chilling food properly helps to stop harmful bacteria from growing. To keep your food safe:

  • Store any food with a use-by date as well as cooked dishes, salads, and dairy products in the fridge.
  • Keep chilled food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible during preparation.
  • Cool cooked food quickly at room temperature and put this in the fridge within one to two hours.
  • Follow storage instructions on the packaging including the best before or use-by dates.

You must check that your fridge is cold enough by using the fridge thermometer. The fridge should be 5°C or below. You should not overfill your fridge as leaving some space between products allows the cold air to circulate and maintains the temperature you have set your fridge to.

Freezing the food is the best option where most bacteria cannot grow and multiply at 2°C or below, better freeze pre-packaged food up to use -by date, and also leftovers also recommended to be frozen as soon as possible. However warm dishes must be cooled before placing in the freezer

Before eating any leftover food, this should be reheated to a minimum internal temperature of 75°C. It is important to familiarise yourself with which foods are safe to be reheated, as some foods are not safe and you could be exposing yourself to dangerous bacteria and toxins.

Cold food should be kept cold and below 5°C. Food is safest when it has either been frozen, chilled or heated to the recommended temperature.

Why defrosted food should not be refrozen again

Once the food is defrozen after being taken out from the freezer, the bacteria are still in the food, but multiplication is hindered by frozen temperature. These bacteria may begin to grow and multiply and may cause food poisoning It is recommended to consume food within 24hrs after the food has been defrosted

As the bacteria are still alive, it is important to remember that when you begin to defrost the food, the bacteria may begin to grow and can then cause food poisoning. This is why you should always defrost food in the fridge. This is also why food should not be refrozen once it has been defrosted. Once food has been defrosted, it should be eaten within 24 hours.

How to check the temperature of frozen and chilled foods?

you can use a probe thermometer to check the temperature, where the thermometer inserts into the food using its metal stem. You should ensure you insert the probe into the middle of the dish. The probe will need to be inserted into the thickest part of the meat as this will give the most accurate temperature. The temperature should be displayed on the probe screen and this will clearly indicate to you that the food is cooked to a safe temperature.

 You can also use an infrared thermometer which can be useful when accepting delivery of frozen goods. If keeping food frozen or chilled, the best way to monitor that it is at a safe temperature is to monitor the temperature of the fridge or freezer as most will have an electronic monitor built in and on display.


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