6 must-know food safety tips

According to the UK National Health Service, most cases of food poisoning (or gastroenteritis) are due to contamination by bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, and can occur at any stage of food preparation. About 25 to 40 per cent of hospital admissions for diarrhoeal illness in Singapore are due to viral gastroenteritis (when viruses are transmitted through improperly cooked foods), reports Singhealth.

Who's at risk? Those with weak immune systems like children or the elderly are at risk of coming down with more serious cases of gastroenteritis, although the latest spate of GBS-related food poisoning incidents show that every one is susceptible.

To avoid any food poisoning incidents of your own, here are six easy tips to follow in the kitchen - of course, remember to keep your hands clean, cook your food thoroughly and toss any expired foods out!

1. Food safety tip: Have two cutting boards

You should own at least two boards: One for cutting raw meat or seafood products, and another for cooked or ready-to-eat food likes fruits. - Agri-food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA)

2. Food safety tip: Use water and vinegar to clean a cutting board

Before washing a cutting board with hot water and soap, rinse it with a solution of water and vinegar to remove excess oil and grime. Guaranteed to be extra clean! - Simone Cerea, executive chef, Regent Singapore

3. Food safety tip: Thaw your food in the fridge

The fridge is the best place for thawing because the temperature remains steady. If you're running out of time, put the frozen food in a resealable bag and submerge in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes or so as it continues to thaw. It takes an hour to thaw half a kilo of meat and up to three hours for up to 2kg. - Pooja Vig, nutritionist at The Nutrition Clinic

4. Food safety tip: Don't refreeze food

We don't mean to nag - but if you've started to thaw something frozen and have changed your mind about using it, don't put it back in the freezer. Bacteria can multiply between thawing and refreezing. - AVA

5. Food safety tip: Freeze artisan bread

Although artisan bread can only last three to four days in a cool and dry environment, you can keep them for longer in the freezer. Placing slices in a resealable bag to freeze will ensure they are good for up to two months. - Grace Chia, founder and chief baker, The Organic Baker

6. Food safety tip: Ensure the correct temperature for the fridge

"Chillers should be at least 4 deg C and below, while freezer compartments should be -18 deg C and below." - Chong Nyet Chin, Director (Food Safety and Quality), NTUC Fairprice

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