The little-known dangers of egg washing: essential tips to prevent food spoilage

How to store properly to avoid food poisoning?

Leaving food out in the open, with maximum temperatures that in some autonomous communities exceed 30 degrees, is risky. Scorching heat accelerates the multiplication of pathogenic bacteria, increasing the risk of them entering food, making it a potential biological hazard. High temperatures promote both microbial growth and chemical and enzymatic spoilage reactions,” explains Amparo Gamero Lluna, Associate Professor at the Master in and at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). And these conditions lead to sensory alterations in food. Strange smells, flavors and textures, and in some cases, unpleasant to our senses. These are indications that a food may be spoiled, but they are not a determining factor.

Very cold meats and cold vegetables

Meat and fish, because they are more easily degraded by microbial growth (they are nutrient-rich substrates), advises Gamero Lluna, should be stored at low temperatures. The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) recommends that, when stored in the refrigerator, meat and fish should be kept between 1 and 4°C. , on the other hand, can be stored at lower temperatures, as some of them, such as tropical fruits, can also be damaged by the cold. The clearest example, explains the expert, are bananas, which lose their distinctive yellow color and turn black in the refrigerator.

Eggs in the fridge

When they're bought, they're often left out in the open, invading the supermarket shelves. And when they get home, they're one of the first things we put in the . This poses a dilemma: are in the fridge or out? The OCU is adamant: “Eggs should always be stored in the fridge, where they are usually placed with the thinnest tip down.” With the doubt removed by one of the most authoritative bodies on food, another question arises: should they be washed? “It's essential not to wash them, because that way, any bacteria from the shell could be transported inside, such as salmonella, which is a food pathogen,” explains Gamero Lluna.

What about cooked products?

When it comes to freezing food or ready-cooked dishes that won't be eaten any time soon, there are certain practices that experts recommend. The golden rule is to freeze them as soon as possible. That way, its microbial load will be as low as possible,” explains Gamero Lluna. And, if you want to keep it just after cooking, you need to let the dish cool to room temperature. If it is placed in the refrigerator, hot, it can drastically reduce the temperature inside the fridge, which would alter the storage conditions of other refrigerated foods. Once it has cooled down, wrap it tightly in plastic and try to prevent air from getting in.

To avoid becoming ill from food poisoning, it is advisable to be aware of the warnings issued by the relevant authorities and the regarding contaminated products. In most cases, products arrive home from the supermarket in good condition and having undergone a rigorous inspection process to prevent the proliferation of pathogens that endanger consumer health. But once home, the consumer must keep track of best-before and sell-by dates, and keep each product in its ideal place. Always look at the expiry date of the container, and make sure that the container is not damaged or that there are frosted, hardened or soft areas, which could indicate that the cold chain has been broken at some point, recommends Gamero Lluna.

Proper food storage is essential to avoid food poisoning. By following the rules recommended by experts, such as keeping meat and fish at low temperatures, placing eggs in the refrigerator and not washing them, and freezing food as soon as possible, consumers can prevent the risk of contamination and guarantee food for themselves and their families.

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