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Tips on storing food and leftovers to prevent food poisoning, including:
Some foods need to be kept in the fridge to help slow down germs' growth and keep food fresh and safe for longer.
These are foods marked with a "use by" date and "keep refrigerated" on the label, such as milk, meat and ready meals.
Cool down leftovers as quickly as possible (ideally within two hours), store them in the fridge and eat them within two days.
It is safe to let food cool completely at room temperature before storing it in the fridge.
Avoid putting open tin cans in the fridge, as the food inside may develop a metallic taste.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions or place the contents in a storage container or covered bowl before refrigerating.
Keep your fridge temperature at 5C or below.
If your fridge has a digital temperature display you may wish to check it against an internal fridge thermometer now and again to make sure it's accurate.
Clean and inspect your fridge regularly to ensure it remains hygienic and in good working order.
No food lasts forever, how ever well it is stored. Most pre-packed foods carry either a "use-by" or a "best before" date.
Food can look and smell fine even after its "use-by" date but that doesn't mean it's safe to eat. It could still contain bugs that could make you ill.
Eating food past its "best before" date is not dangerous, but the food may not be good quality.
You can freeze pretty much everything, including:
Anything with a high water content like strawberries and tomatoes will go squishy but are still fine to cook with.
Place food in an air-tight container or wrap it tightly in freezer bags or similar before placing in the freezer otherwise the cold air will dry it out.
Eggs are best stored in the fridge as they are kept at a constant temperature.
Eggs can also be frozen. Two ways to freeze eggs:
You can safely store a boiled egg in the fridge for a couple of days. Boiled eggs can also be frozen.
It's important to store meat safely in the fridge to stop bacteria from spreading and avoid food poisoning.
It's safe to freeze meat and fish as long as you:
Make sure meat is properly wrapped in the freezer or it might get freezer burn, which can make it tough and inedible.
Date and label meat in the freezer and eat it within 24 hours of defrosting.
You can freeze meat for a long time and it will still be safe to eat, but the quality will deteriorate so it's best to eat it within three to six months.
Don't worry if it's frozen for longer – try marinating it before cooking to improve texture or use herbs and spices to add flavour.
Never re-freeze raw meat (including poultry) or fish that has been defrosted.
You can cook frozen meat and fish once defrosted, and then refreeze them.
You can re-freeze cooked meat and fish once, as long as they have been cooled before going into the freezer. If in doubt, don't re-freeze.
Frozen raw foods can be defrosted once and stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours before they need to be cooked or thrown away.
To reduce wastage, divide the meal into portions before freezing and then just defrost what you need.
Don't throw away leftovers: they could be tomorrow's lunch! Follow these tips to make the most of them:
With more people re-using single-use plastic carrier bags or using a reusable bag for life, you can help prevent bacteria spreading to ready-to-eat food by:
If there has been any spillage, soiling or damage, plastic bags for life or single-use plastic carrier bags should ideally be disposed of.
Cotton and fabric-based bags for life can be put in the washing machine.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.