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Food summer safety checklist

02 July 2024

Fruit and veg

Over the summer months many of us will be enjoying the warm weather and may be hosting family and friends.

We’ve put together a simple checklist to help you make the most of your food and avoid becoming unwell because of poorly prepped or stored food and avoid food waste going in your bin.

Step one - beforehand

  • Check the number of people you’re cooking for if you’re hosting – check for any allergies or dietary needs
  • Plan out your food to make the most of what you’re cooking and avoid waste
  • Make the most out of offers or discounts to help save money where you can

Step two – storing and preparing your food

  • Store food in the right places, checking labels for storage instructions – make the most of fridge and freezers and store raw meat at the bottom of your fridge
  • Check your fridge’s temperature, because the temperature of your fridge can rise when it's full, increasing the chance of food poisoning. Your fridge should be between 0-5°C
  • Check for use by dates and stick to these, as tempting as it might be to go over a day or so
  • Be sure to take any meat out to defrost the night or day before, defrost at the bottom of the fridge and ensure it is fully thawed before you begin cooking.

Step three – cooking food

  • Wash your hands before and throughout dinner preparations, especially after handling raw meat
  • Use different chopping boards and utensils for raw and ready to eat/cooked food. Wash any equipment thoroughly in hot, soapy water between uses
  • Make sure any meat is cooked through – there should be no visible pink meat, juices are running clear and use a food thermometer to check meat reaches 75°C in the thickest part
  • Put leftovers in a sealed container inside the fridge within two hours of cooking, to be used within two days
  • Split food into smaller portions to help speed up the cooling time.

Step four – enjoying and leftovers

  • Keep chilled foods out of the fridge for no longer than four hours / out of direct sunlight
  • Eat food within two days of cooking or defrosting
  • When reheating, only reheat once and ensure the food is steaming hot.

To find out more about food safety and guidance visit the Food Standards Agency website.

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