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Convenient foods: the food safety facts

September 30, 2014

Today, we exist in a world that seems to be in a constant state of rush. There are never enough hours in the day to get every important task done, and so we scurry from one job to another, often trying to save time on domestic tasks. For many people, this means finding a way to speed-up mealtimes.

Prepared meals, canned foods, and frozen lunch options are the common solutions that many of us turn to when we don’t have the energy or time to prepare our own food from scratch. Although they may be conducive to a simpler life, it’s important to remember that these foods come with some strict safety guidelines that should always be followed.

Pre-prepared foods

When you buy pre-prepared foods such as dried meats, ready-to-eat meals, or deli products, these items should always be eaten within three or four days of purchase. Never purchase cured meats such as pepperoni or salami if the wrapping they come in looks compromised.

Pre-prepared meals from a hot display or salad bar should never be purchased if you have reason to believe that the items have not been kept at the right temperature as the item may harbour harmful bacteria. These meals should be thoroughly re-heated and eaten on the same day as they were purchased.

Frozen foods

If you’re buying frozen meals or frozen vegetable packages, try to select one from the very back of the freezer case. These items are less likely to have been picked out of the freezer and replaced by another consumer. Once you have bought your food, keep it frozen until it is ready to be used.

Canned foods

When purchasing canned goods, take the time to look for a can that you can be sure is in good condition. This means that you should never buy a can that is dented, bulging, or compromised in anyway. Once home, make sure it is stored in a dry, cool place, out of the way of direct sunlight.