Mum in the kitchen

Freezing, Defrosting and Reheating – What’s Safe?

Food safety

Basic foods that are classed as potentially hazardous, and require special attention when it comes to their handling and cooking include:

  • Raw and cooked meat or food containing meat such as curries, pizza, pasta etc.
  • Dairy products or food containing dairy products such as cheese sauces.
  • Seafood or food containing seafood.
  • Pre-prepared fruits and vegetables such as salads.
  • Cooked rice and pasta.
  • Food rich in protein or food containing protein-rich food such as eggs sandwich, beans and nuts, or food containing protein-rich food such as quiche.
  • Honey can be dangerous for infants due to the dormant bacteria spores.

Cooling Food – How long does food last in the fridge?

Once again, a useful reminder of the maximum length of time commonly refrigerated foods will store for:

Time line of food storage in refrigerator

Food Maximum Length of Storage (days)
Meat – raw ground 1-2
Fish – raw 1-2
Poultry 1-2
Meat – minced and offal 2-3
Leftovers 3-5
Meat – raw 3-5
Mixed vegetable dishes 3-5
Ham 3-5
Salads – mayo based 3-5
Milk 5-7
Cooked egg 1 week
Bacon 1 week
Sausages – smoked 1 week
Fruit juices 1-2 weeks
Egg – raw 2-4 weeks
Bacon – unopened 2-4 weeks
Butter 2 months
Mayo – jar 2 months
Cheese – dry 2 months
Oil, margarine and fat Variable (6 months)

Source: Food Science Australia, adapted from International Institute of Refrigeration (1986)

Other storage tips include:

  • Use the coldest part of the refrigerator for foods you want to keep longer.
  • Always cover foods with strong odours such as fish and onion.
  • Closed airtight containers are more effective than cling-wrap at keeping bugs at bay.
  • Always place bought frozen food into the fridge as soon as you can.
  • Store food in cool darkened cupboards.
  • Store food in dark containers and dark areas.
  • Keep food in containers that prevent moisture leaks in or out.
  • Always use older products first and place fresher foods to the back of the shelf or fridge.

What is the safest way to cool food down?

The cooling process after cooking is often when bugs start to grow; this generally occurs between 60