With so many opinions about food safety, what information should we trust and how do we know what’s just a myth?
We all know that thawing meat and then refreezing is supposed to be a bad idea. But is it really bad for our health or just a common misconception?
Nutrition and exercise scientist Kathleen Alleaume revealed to Kidspot the top six food hygiene myths and explained what you can do to keep your family safe.
1. Don’t refreeze meat that’s been thawed
According to the CSIRO, you can in fact refreeze defrosted meat without harm, as long as it was defrosted in a fridge and not out in the open.
The only issue may be in the taste, which can become slightly compromised and watery when meat is defrosted.
Another tip is to make sure you aren’t freezing anything that is still hot. If you don’t wait for it to cool you risk creating a “steam” which is the perfect condition for bacteria to grow.
2. Bacteria can be washed away
You cannot remove bacteria from meat or produce by rinsing it off, in fact it actually increases the risk of hazardous bacteria.
Instead, Alleaume suggests cooking your meat and vegetables at above boiling point in order to make sure all bacteria is destroyed.
3. You can freeze anything
There is a common misconception that all food can be safely stored in your freezer, says Alleaume. While this is the case for most foods, some are just not suited to being chilled.
Some vegetables and sauces will disintegrate when placed in a freezer and things like coffee, milk and eggs are altered chemically when frozen, often destroying flavours.
4. Food never expires when frozen
Most people seem to think time itself is frozen when things are kept in the freezer, but that is simply not the case, says Alleaume.
Food deteriorates the longer it is kept in the freezer and, as a general rule, you shouldn’t keep pre-made meals more than three months. Raw meat should be kept for no more than 12 months.
5. Meat is still edible unless it smells bad
Alleaume explains that allowing your nose to determine if you should eat something or not is a huge gamble when it comes to food safety.
Yes, expired food does attract a nasty aroma, but there’s bacteria in food that can’t be seen or smelt too. These bacteria still pose health risks, so if things are out of date the best place for them is in the bin.
6. Freezing food kills bacteria
This assumption is in fact false. Freezing food simply makes bacteria inactive rather than kills it.
This means that when the food is thawed, the bacteria will still be present. In order to ensure all bacteria are killed, it must be cooked above boiling point.