With high gas and energy costs in mind, many people are looking for ways to save money. However, not all methods are recommended. Turning down the heat a little is a wise choice. But turning off the fridge or freezer completely? Very unwise, warns the Nutrition Centre.
A third of Britons ate food that had expired in the autumn. One in five switched off the freezer or fridge at least once a month. Disturbing news, says the Nutrition Centre.
“I found the numbers shocking. We don’t have Dutch figures, but I know energy prices are a problem in both countries,” says food safety expert Wieke van der Vossen at the Center for Nutrition. “So it cannot be ruled out that it will also happen in the Netherlands.”
It is unwise to turn off the refrigerator
It is very unwise to switch off your fridge or freezer, says Van der Vossen. “If you turn off your refrigerator, the temperature will gradually rise to room or kitchen temperature, and you will be in trouble.” For soft drinks, butter and sauces, this is not such a problem. “You can also just put drinks outside in the winter.”
For perishable foods, the danger of food poisoning lurks. Van der Vossen mentions meat that you bought on sale and whose expiry date is in sight. You also need to be careful with meat products and sliced vegetables. “If you store this kind of product above 10 degrees, bacterial growth will go very quickly.”
People with fragile health should be extra careful
According to RIVM, thousands of people get sick from food every year. “Then it’s often about nausea. But vulnerable people really need to be aware. The elderly are more susceptible to contracting an infection. And they can become more seriously ill than people with a stronger constitution.” In particular, young children, pregnant women and people with reduced resistance should be careful.
When you think of food poisoning, you immediately think of restaurant meals, says Van der Vossen. “But 40 percent of the cases of illness are due to the way people handle food at home. It is especially raw animal products that cause the symptoms.”
This is because home cooks, for example, cut raw chicken and then use the same knife for the cooked chicken. “Either an ingredient has not been heated properly. Or people are eating a product whose expiration date has passed.”
Tips to save money without getting sick
- Store your fridge at 4 degrees. At that temperature, bacteria grow the fastest and the products last longer.
- Close the refrigerator as soon as possible. If you have been shopping, put everything in the fridge at once.
- Check the rubbers in the fridge and freezer. Clean the rubbers well. If there is a crack, the cold seeps out.
- Defrost the freezer. The more ice, the more energy your freezer uses.
- Let the leftovers cool outside the fridge first. The warmer the food is in the fridge, the harder the fridge has to work.
- Note the difference between Best Before (Best Before) and Using (Best Before) (Best Before). Products that can be used until a certain date must be eaten or frozen in time. You can often eat or drink products with a best before date. Use your nose and eyes to see if anything is still edible.
- Eat or freeze offers on products before best before or best before date.
- Heat perishable products sufficiently: fish, meat, sliced vegetables and leftovers must be heated properly to remove bacteria.
- Use the eco mode of the dishwasher and washing machine, but turn it to 70 degrees every now and then. Do not run the dishwasher until it is full. And leave the dirty part of your cups, plates and bowls face down.
- Use soapy water and warm water. Disinfectant is not necessary: warm water kills bacteria sufficiently. A disinfectant can make bacteria resistant.
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