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It is vital that food is stored and prepared hygienically and carefully if we are to remain healthy. Take note of the following points to improve the hygiene and shelf life of your food:


When shopping, you should put frozen products in your trolley last and, ideally, put them straight into a cooler bag so that they remain cold at all times. During the summer months it is also recommended to transport meat and fish in a cooler bag as well. Once you’ve got your food home safe, there is more information to observe as regards storage and subsequent preparation.



In large buildings such as hotels, storage rooms are divided into “clean” and “unclean” areas, but this division can also be applied in private homes. “Unclean” areas are all the places where unwashed fruit and vegetables are stored, such as the potato store and sand box, plus the drink store and egg tray in the fridge (due to the risk of salmonella).

You should prevent excessive dirt from accumulating even in these “unclean” areas and should regularly ensure that a basic level of cleanliness is met on the floor, in trays and on shelves. Food should not have earth stuck to it either, with the exception of potatoes, apples and carrots that are being stored for the winter: washing these items would actually shorten their storage life!

Containers that have been used in “unclean” areas must not be used in clean areas of the kitchen, such as on work surfaces, without being washed. After handling eggs you must wash your hands immediately with soap and warm water; this also applies after touching sausages, raw meat, poultry and fish and is necessary to combat the risk of salmonella infection. The water left behind when fish and meat thaw must be poured away for this same reason and must not be reused.

In contrast to “unclean” areas, “clean” areas are the places where washed fruit and vegetables are stored, such as the fridge, freezer or freezer compartment, along with the kitchen work surfaces. "Clean” areas must be kept absolutely spotless. Visible soiling such as that left behind after preparing food must be removed immediately so that food pests and mould have no chance to develop. In the interests of hygiene it is also extremely important to defrost freezers once a year - including frost-free appliances.

 

 

You must always bear in mind that there should be no crossover between “clean” areas of the kitchen and “unclean” ones, which could arise when washing salad and vegetables, for example.

The sink should be viewed in this regard as a kind of dirt trap for fruit and vegetables. Even in the fridge, “clean” and “unclean” foods and packaging should be stored separately wherever possible. In some instances the food itself may be clean, but its packaging soiled because it has come into contact with “unclean” areas or foods during transport, in the supermarket and even in your shopping bags. So when putting your new supplies away, you must pay attention to the packaging and ensure that any soiling is detected and removed.