What do the terms “use by” and “best before” on food labels mean?
Use-by foods must be eaten or thrown away by the date. They are used on food products which are highly perishable and likely to constitute a danger to health if consumed after the date. This applies to most chilled foods like yogurt, milk and meat.
Best-before foods are still safe to eat after the date as long as they aren’t damaged or look deteriorated. The date reflects the quality of a food product, like the taste, aroma and appearance, rather than the safety of the product. Typically a best-before date is declared on food products such as canned, dried and frozen foods.
Can I still eat meat/poultry after their expiration date has passed despite them being in the freezer the whole time?
No, use the below guide as a reference (in terms of months)
Sausage 1 to 2
Casseroles 2 to 3
Egg whites or egg substitutes 12
Frozen dinners and entrees 3 to 4
Hotdogs and lunch meats 1 to 2
Meat (uncooked steaks or chops) 4 to 12
Meat (uncooked ground beef) 3 to 4
Meat (cooked) 2 to 3
Poultry (uncooked whole) 12
Poultry (uncooked parts) 9
Poultry (cooked) 4
Why do my fruits change color when I cut them?
Fruits contain an enzyme that reacts with oxygen and iron-containing phenols. The oxidation reaction forms a layer on the surface of the fruit. You see browning when the fruit is cut or bruised because these actions damage the cells in the fruit, allowing oxygen in the air to react with the enzyme and other chemicals.
How do I know if the fish I’m buying is fresh?
When purchasing fresh fish, look for:
• Bright, clear eyes
• Shiny coat
• Fresh smelling (smells like clean water, or cucumbers)
• Rich, red color on the gills
Is there a nutritional difference between buying expensive cuts of meat and cheaper ones?
No, cheaper cuts of meat are just as nutritious as expensive cuts of meat as long as they are bought from a reliable and clean place.
What does cross-contamination mean? And how do I avoid it?
Cross-contamination is the physical movement or transfer of harmful bacteria from one person, object or place to another. Preventing cross-contamination is a key factor in preventing food-borne illness. You can prevent cross-contamination by separating your food items in the grocery cart, grocery bag, kitchen surfaces, chopping boards, and by using different sets of utensils for each.
How long does it take for meat to thaw?
Meat will defrost at different times depending on the type of method used. The thicker the cut of meat, the longer it will take as well. The safest way of thawing meat is to take it out of the freezer and keep it in the refrigerator. If you are defrosting in a refrigerator, leave for 12-24 hours. However, you can also thaw your meat by running it under cool water, or in the microwave.
How long can you keep canned foods? And are there any precautions to watch out for when buying them?
Commercially prepared canned food has a fairly long shelf life as long as it is stored properly.
High-acid foods — such as tomatoes, fruit and fruit juice — can be stored for up to 18 months.
Low-acid foods — such as vegetables and meat — can be stored for two to five years.
When you’re shopping for canned food, examine the containers. Don’t buy canned products that are dented, leaking or bulging, or those that show any signs of tampering.
How do I safely store bread?
• Keep bread at room temperature, around 20°C
• Keep it away from direct sunlight in a cool and dry place
• Don’t put bread in the refrigerator and freeze any excess bread
• Keep different types of bread in different containers
When my produce or cheese molds can I just cut the mold off and eat the item?
This depends on the food that will be consumed. The low moisture content of hard cheese and its dense structure means mold will usually survive only on the surface so it should be safe to cut around the affected area and eat the rest of block. However, many other foods, including moldy bread, are better off thrown away.
What causes mold to grow on food?
Once a spore lands on a surface, it searches for water and nutrients to feed off of. Food is able to grow mold easily because it is often stored in the perfect environment to foster mold growth. As the spore takes root, it begins to spread and create more spores that spread quickly on the surface of your food. Some molds can take over your food in a matter of 12 to 24 hours, while others may take weeks.
Is antibacterial soap better than regular soap? What about instant hand sanitizers?
To properly sanitize your hands, soap and water should be used. A hand sanitizer cannot and should not take the place of proper cleansing procedures with soap and water. As for antibacterial soap, research on the use of antibacterial soaps has shown that plain soaps are just as effective in reducing bacteria related illnesses.