With Chinese New Year (CNY) just around the corner, every family is busy preparing a variety of festive foods to share with friends and families. To celebrate a joyful CNY, the public is advised to observe the following food safety tips when purchasing, preparing or consuming festive foods.
1. Choose smartly
l Purchase festive foods and ingredients from reputable and hygienic shops. Do not buy foods from dubious sources;
l Pay attention to the appearance and colour of festive foods. Choose those with natural colour only as brightly-white foods may have been bleached. Melon seeds with unnatural gloss may have been added with mineral oil and can cause gastrointestinal discomfort;
l For prepackaged festive foods, check the expiry dates and ensure the packages are intact;
l For non-packaged festive foods such as crispy triangles, melon seeds and sweetened fruits and vegetables, check whether the foods have been exposed to moisture and whether the food containers are clean.
2. Store properly
l If not for immediate consumption, store festive foods properly according to its nature or the instruction on the package. For example, melon seeds, sweetened melon should be kept in air-tight containers and stored in a cool, dry place;
l Do not buy excessive amounts of festive foods to avoid food spoilage due to prolonged storage or food expiration before consumption;
l Discard any foods that perish, stink or go mouldy due to improper or prolonged storage.
3. Separate raw and cooked foods
l Pack raw and cooked food individually and stored in the refrigerator at below 5℃ according to the “cooked food above, raw food below” principle. Put cooked and ready-to-eat foods on the upper shelves of the refrigerator while raw food on lower shelves to prevent their juices from dripping onto cooked or ready-to-eat foods;
l To avoid cross-contamination, use separate utensils for handling raw and cooked foods.
4. Cook thoroughly
l Cook or reheat foods thoroughly until the core temperature reaches at least 75℃ or above and consume as soon as possible after cooking or reheating;
l Consume reheated food immediately. Avoid reheating food for more than once.
5. Keep clean
l Maintain good personal hygiene practices. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing or consuming festive foods;
l Wash all ingredients before cooking and handle with clean utensils.
Lastly, the public is advised to maintain a balanced diet and avoid eating too much festive foods which are high in fat and sugar.