Food Safety Week backed by Uttlesford District Council

UTTLESFORD District Council is promoting the food safety on a budget campaign being launched by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) this week marking the start of Food Safety Week.

New research published on Monday by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) shows that some people are taking more risks with food safety as they try to save money and make their food go further.

The research showed that most of those questioned (97 per cent) believed the cost of their typical shopping basket has gone up significantly in the last three years, with half of these trying to make better use of leftover food.

However, some people are ignoring Use By dates more than they used to, while others are keeping leftovers for longer than the recommended limit of two days in the fridge.

Geoff Smith, head of Environmental Health at UDC, said: “Everyone’s budget is stretched at the moment so it is tempting to re-use leftovers and keep food longer than we previously would have done. However this brings with it the danger of an increased risk of food poisoning if food is not correctly stored, handled or reheated.”

Here are some tips on how to keep leftover food in your fridge safe:

• If you are going to store leftovers in the fridge, cool them as quickly as possible, ideally within 90 minutes. Cover them, get them in the fridge and then eat them within two days.

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• Make sure your fridge is operating at the correct temperature, it should be below 5oC.

• You can also freeze your leftovers, but cool them first to minimise temperature fluctuation in your freezer. They can be safely stored in the freezer almost indefinitely, but the quality will still deteriorate gradually with time, so it’s best to eat them within three months.

• Make sure you defrost frozen leftovers properly before using them. If you’re going to cook them straightaway use a microwave. If you don’t have a microwave, defrost them in the fridge overnight.

• Eat leftovers within 24 hours of defrosting and do not refreeze them again. The only exception to this is if you are defrosting raw food, such as meat or poultry, which can be refrozen once it has been cooked.

• Cook leftovers until steaming hot throughout.

There are around a million cases of food poisoning every year in the UK. In the Uttlesford area around 30 cases of food poisoning were officially recorded in 2011 - however this is believed to represent only the tip of the iceberg as many cases go unreported.

The levels soar during summer months across the UK with around 120,000 extra cases of illness from June to August. One of the reasons for this increase is warmer temperatures causing any germs present to grow faster, which underlines the importance of getting leftovers in the fridge quickly.

For more information visit the FSA website at or the council’s website at