With the leftover dinner, still slightly warm on the table, placing it simply in the fridge, maybe tempting as you are cleaning up. But there is a reason why refrigerator manuals warn against it. Placing hot food in the refrigerator may raise the temperature of the fridge as well as other already cooled food. This gives an opportunity for microbial growth as the compartment is not cold enough.
Environmentally, with the warm leftover, more energy is wasted as the fridge tries to lower the raised temperature to one that was originally set.
It is a nightmare to discover that what you have enjoyed eating in the morning is slowly churning up your tummy, giving that unpleasant ache, and subsequently forcing frequent trips to the bathroom. While in theory, food poisoning is highly unlikely if you immediately consumed well cooked food, but unfortunately some bacterial spores in food do survive the cooking heat.
So how do we avoid getting it in the first place? Start with checking that the groceries you have bought have not expired or turned bad. Do the long stare, then scrutinize your potential dinner. Is the packaging still intact? Is that the right colour for chicken? Fresh meats are pinkish red while older ones may turn darker in colour. Poke if you must. Fresh meat should be firm not slimy or sticky. If there is a freezer thermometer, check the temperature. It should be set at 4.5°C or below to retard bacterial growth.
Other items such as canned soups or bottled sauces on the other hand should not have expired. They also should be free of any dents or cracks. If bottles or tubs have proper seals, these should not be broken or opened.
Proper storage condition is key in reducing the risk of food contamination. Never mixed raw with cooked food. This applies to utensil as well. Chopping board for meats should remain separated from that for fruits and vegetables.
Next is the cooking process. Food especially meat and eggs require thorough cooking to ensure that all microorganisms are killed using heat. Ample cooking time and adequate temperature are necessary for meals consisting of larger chicken pieces or thicker beef slices. Bear in mind that heat penetrates slowly in meat.
Insufficient cooking is indicated when the inside of your beef remains red (slice a piece to determine) or red juice is still oozing out. Your meal may dangerously contain salmonella. Salmonella is a type of bacteria, infamous for causing illness.
Once you are done with cooking, clean your working area. Unwashed chopping boards, utensils and working surfaces mean that the risk of food poisoning is still very much in the air. Try to finish the meal. Reheating leftover the next day is risky. Unless of course, you are sure that the food you stored the night before had been cooled quickly and stored in the fridge.
Snackers, compare with nonsnackers, are less likely to be overweight or obese as snacks consumed tend to be lower in fat and higher in carbohydrates than meals, in a study conducted.