Little Knowledge about Freezing & Reheating Food

Every food pathogen has temperature, which it cannot grow above or below.  They will begin to die when temperatures exceed the danger zone (see diagrams below [1]).  The higher the temperature, the quicker they are eliminated.  Keeping food at the right temperature will prevent these bacteria from multiplying and avoiding the so-called ‘food poisoning’.  According the ANZ food standards these temperature are summarized as per the below picture where the 4-hours/ 2-hours rules are applied. [1]
 

When it comes to reheating food, food should be reheated rapidly to a temperature exceeding 60ºC.  This is due to the fact that multiplication of bacteria is time dependent.  The longer it takes to for the reheated temperatures above 5ºC to reach the temperature of 60ºC, the greater the number of bacteria are in that food.

The Food Safety Standards do not specify a temperature for reheating food.  It is recommend that food is reheated thoroughly so that it is steaming (above 75ºC) or boiling.  You should thaw frozen food in the refrigerator to keep frozen food out of the temperature danger zone. [2]

A quick summary:

  • Once food has cooled down (keep in mind the Temperature Danger Zone), freeze as soon as possible.  Most of the cubed baby food can be kept in the freezer between 3-6 months [3].  However, I normally keep Harvey’s food for around one month.

  • Ensure the containers are labelled, dated and include your expiry date.

  • Thaw food in the refrigerator or reheat in a microwave.  Ensure the food is reheated to temperature above 75ºC.

  • Do not reheat food more than once and do not refreeze meal that has already been frozen (this excludes cooked raw frozen food such as peas, beans etc…)

References/Sources:

[1].  http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/_Documents/industry_pdf/temp_danger_zone.pdf

[2].  http://www.health.vic.gov.au/foodsafety/home/athome.htm

[3].  http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/freezepage.htm

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