Frozen food safety confusion resulting in tonnes of waste, watchdog warns
Myths about when it’s safe to consume frozen food are adding towards the country’s already high amounts of food waste.
The Meals Standards Agency finds 43 percent of individuals believe food are only able to be frozen at the time of purchase 38 percent stated it’s harmful to refreeze meat once it has been cooked and 36 percent thought food will go off and be unsafe whilst in the freezer – all false ideas.
31% of those we spoke to stated more here is how to securely freeze food would enable them to reduce their food waste.”
Within the United kingdom, seven million tonnes of meals are tossed away every year, and most 1 / 2 of this really is might have been eaten.
The Meals Standards Agency is looking around the public to take full advantage of their freezers to minimise food waste, in addition to assisting to bust misconceptions about freezer safety.
Steve Wearne, FSA director of policy stated: “Our studies have shown that lots of the fears the general public has about freezing food are unproven and we have to ensure they are fully aware the details.
Mr Wearne stated those meals doesn’t have to become frozen at the time it’s bought – every day prior to the use-by date is protected to freeze on: “The freezer is sort of a pause button, so that you can freeze meals up to the ‘use-by’ date… Once defrosted, the pause button is off, so defrost food as and when it’s needed and eat it within 24 hrs from it being fully defrosted.”
Theoretically, food could be stored within the freezer indefinitely, though the caliber of the meals will start to decline following the first 3 to 6 several weeks – so it is advisable to eat at some point.
Laura Rowswell in the hygiene and microbiology team in the FSA warns freezing doesn’t destroy bacteria, but causes it to get inactive. This prevents the meals safe even though it is within the freezer, but bacteria will begin to grow again when it’s removed.
“As a guide, the hotter the high temperature the greater active bacteria are, and that’s why we advise defrosting food gradually and securely, ideally overnight within the refrigerator,” she stated.
Food that’s been defrosted and refrozen includes a greater chance of causing food poisoning, because freezing doesn’t destroy bacteria, it simply causes it to be inactive.
“If the merchandise is refrozen these bacteria can survive, so when defrosted again, it is more probably that bacteria would achieve dangerous levels and cause food poisoning,” stated Ms Rowswell.