A Food Standards Agency (FSA) survey suggests that in a bid to save money people are endangering their health by consuming leftovers which have been preserved in the fridge for long periods of time, while also ignoring use-by dates directions on the food products.
According to the FSA, one-third of people were more likely to use the look and smell of food to see if it was safe to eat rather than the use-by date. The study of nearly 2,000 people across the UK revealed that more than half were trying to use more of leftover food. Resulting in increased cases of food poisoning during summer, as germs grow at a faster rate in warmer weather.
“With most of us seeing our weekly shopping bills increase over the last few years, we are all looking for ways to get the most out of our shopping budget. Using leftover food is a good way of making our meals go further. However, unless we’re careful, there’s a chance we can risk food poisoning by not storing or handling them properly”, Bob Martin, a food safety expert at the Food Standards Agency, said.
The expert also says that food bugs like E.coli and Salmonella don’t cause food to smell off, even when they may have grown to dangerous levels, so, food could look and smell fine but still be harmful.
The FSA advises that leftovers should be put in the fridge as soon as possible and then eaten within two days and should be cooked until they are steaming hot. Thorough washing of hands before and after preparing food and appropriate storing, handling and cooking of food will minimise the risk of any health hazard.