Food Hygiene in Halls

Posted 6 months ago

Take responsibility for what you eat, and how you prepare it

When you start university or live away from home for the first time, you may take on greater responsibility for what you eat, and how you prepare it. Now that you may be cooking more, it’s important to understand the basics of food hygiene so that you can stay safe and not let food poisoning affect your experience. 

Shared fridge storage rules 

Living in halls or shared accommodation, you might only have access to one shelf in a shared fridge. The Food Standards Agency recommend that you store raw meat, fish and shellfish on the bottom shelf of your fridge toreduce the risk of cross-contamination. However, in a shared fridge this may not be possible. Instead put the food in separate containers. Use sealed or waterproof containers to avoid leakages and limit the spread of harmful bacteria. Avoid ready-to-eat food being cross-contaminated by raw meat and fish on the same shelf, by not storing open packets of meat, fish or shellfish. You should also avoid putting open tin cans in the fridge as the food inside may experience bacterial growth and develop a metallic taste. Follow instructions on the packaging or put the contents in a sealable storage container before refrigerating. Remember to check the contents in the fridge regularly so that you use or freeze food before the use by date, any foods past their use-by dates should be disposed of.

a group of people sitting at a table eating food

Eating out and getting a takeaway

When you start university and meet new people you may be socialising over a shared meal, eating out at a restaurant or getting a takeaway with new friends.

Whether you’re eating out or ordering a takeaway you can check the food hygiene rating of the food business by checking the sticker or asking the staff at the restaurant. Ratings are also provided on the delivery platforms, takeaway menus or on the Food Standards Agency website so you can make more informed choices about where to buy and eat food

If you’re reheating your leftovers make sure you’re heating food until it is piping hot all the way through. Do not keep leftovers for more than 48 hours. 

Take particular care with rice dishes as you can get food poisoning from eating reheated rice. You should never reheat rice more than once. Ideally, takeaway rice should be eaten shortly after purchase or shortly after it has been delivered. Unless you’re sure it has only been cooked once, it shouldn’t be reheated.

Make the most of your food

When budgets are tight, avoiding unnecessary food waste can be a useful way to make your money go further. This does not mean having to compromise on food safety.

A freezer acts as a pause button. This means food in a freezer won't deteriorate and most bacteria cannot grow in it. You can freeze pre-packaged food right up to the use-by date. 

Leftovers and homemade foods should be frozen as soon as possible. Make sure any warm dishes are cooled before putting them in your freezer. Freezing food into individual portions will make them easier to defrost and you will use only what you need.

Love Food Hate Waste have some useful tips and advice on how to make your food go further and reduce waste.

a group of people standing in a kitchen

And finally keep it clean

Follow these handy tips to keep your shared kitchen clean.

  • Wash your hands with warm soapy water before you prepare, cook or eat food. 
  • Wash or change dish cloths, tea towels, sponges and oven gloves regularly. It's important to let them dry before you use them again.
  • Take care to keep all utensils and dishes clean before preparing food to avoid cross-contamination.
  • You should use different utensils, plates and chopping boards when preparing ready-to-eat foods and raw foods that require cooking. Remember to wash them after each use so they’re clean for the next person to use. 
  • You should not wash raw meat. Washing meat under a tap can splash bacteria onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops. Cooking will kill any bacteria present. 
  • Remember to wash fruit and vegetables with water before you eat them. You should wash them under a running tap, or in a bowl of fresh water, making sure to rub their skin under the water. 

LaurenRLC Residence Life Coordinator for Talybont!

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