• Ketchup may need to be stored in the fridge

    Ketchup and sauces in the fridge – what is all the fuss about?

    Traditionally many foods have been preserved without being stored in the fridge because they contain high quantities of salt or sugar which are used as preservatives. However, as we are being told we need to eat less salt for our heart’s health, and less sugar to reduce obesity, manufacturers are being urged by government departments to reduce sugar and salt in items we buy regularly. Read more

  • Top Tips for a Healthy Christmas

    Traditional Roast Turkey with TrimmingsWe all know how stressful cooking the Christmas lunch is, and you definitely don’t want to add the worry of a houseful of poorly tummies to the mix.

    So rather than leave it to chance, stop worrying about whether your food is cooked enough and at the same time have a lovely tasty Christmas turkey that is cooked to temperature not to colour

    With a simple probe thermometer you can take the reading in the thickest part of the meat. Easy. And cheap – a great little thermometer costs only £19.00 from Hygiene Audit Systems.

    pdq400

    And then after handling the raw turkey, do wash your hands and use an antibacterial cleanser for disinfecting and cleaning the surfaces which may have been contaminated with dangerous bacteria.

    Ten Top Tips for Turkey Day!

    • Make sure your fridge is cold enough – use a cheap fridge thermometer – available from supermarkets for around £5. Turn down the temperature you are aiming for 5 °C
    • Storing the raw turkey – use a tray to catch the drip, put at the bottom of the fridge away from anything that is ready-to-eat
    • After handling raw meat or poultry, wash your hands thoroughly using soap and warm water, dry with a paper towel rather than a tea towel.
    • Clean and disinfect anything that may have contamination from raw turkey – use the dishwasher on a high temperature, use an anti-bacterial cleanser and paper towel for surfaces, and don’t use the kitchen cloth or it will simply spread the bacteria all round the kitchen
    • Cook to 75 °C in the thickest part of the meat – use a clean probe thermometer
    • Turkey left overs? With clean hands, strip off the carcass and put on a clean plate, cover and put in the fridge above any raw meat or veg
    • Eat left overs within 3 days of cooking
    • Re-heat left overs quickly and to above 75 °C
    • No room in the fridge? Ditch some of the less important items such as chutneys, jams, sauces etc. and put them in a cold part of the house or in a box in the garage for a few days to make room for cooked meats and foods that could become dangerous if left out of refrigeration.
    • Lots of people using your wc? Keep the soap stocked up and make sure you change the hand towel daily at least to keep the shared bugs down. Use an antibacterial wipe on the flush handle and door handle if you want to be particularly hygienic!
  • Holiday Safety – some simple advice

    Help! I’m going on Holiday abroad – how do I stay safe?

    Dr Lisa Ackerley shares some of her experiences from presenting on the BBC’s Secret Tourist and Holiday Hit Squad

    You don’t want to turn into a hotel inspector, but here are a few tips that may make your holiday safer.

    Room

    Taking a moment or two to check your accommodation before you unpack the suitcase could make a real difference to your stay – and could save your life!

    • Check out emergency exits from your accommodation as soon as you arrive – this could save your lives. Don’t rely on the plan on the back of the door – I have found that it is often wrong!
    • Make sure if you have young children that they can’t get onto the balcony unless you are with them. Check that the balcony is safe to use – is it high enough, is it like a climbing frame? Can the children step up to get over it? Is it wobbly? If in any doubt, ask for another, preferably ground floor room.
    • Check out the electrical sockets – are there any exposed wires or broken sockets?

    Plug Socket - Always check plug sockets when you arrive at a hotel Hotel Fire Exits - always familiarise yourself with the nearest exit. Balcony safety - ensure your balcony is safe before allowing children to play

    Pool

    The swimming pool is normally one of your holiday’s luxuries. Make sure it doesn’t become one of the inconveniences.

    • If it is murky, don’t go in it – it won’t be clean enough and it could be unsafe if you can’t see a child in difficulty under the water. Complain straight away and take pictures.
    • Check out the depths – tell your children where the deep end is, and supervise at all times
    • Check out any trip hazards or slip hazards – I have seen hotels with broken grills round the pool – ideal to fall into a gulley and break your leg whilst falling in to the pool
    • Avoid the Jacuzzi unless the hotel is really spotless – some even tell you the pool hygiene readings and checks.

     Holiday swimming pools - they might look inviting but there can be hidden dangers Dangerous Swimming Pool - Watch out for trip and slip hazards! Dirty Swimming pool - if it's dirty, don't go in!

    Buffet

    You can’t exactly spend your holiday eating bread and bottled water (although that’s what I had to do on some of my trips)! Following some simple advice, you can eat to your heart’s content.

    • Hot food should be hot, cold food cold.
    • Watch out for recycled food – food that has been out once and is made into something else – for example, I have seen hot sausages for breakfast and then chopped sausages in salad the next day
    • If there are flies or birds landing on the food, don’t touch it.
    • Avoid drinks from large dispensers unless you feel really confident about the cleanliness of the place.
    • Re-constituted drinks (where water is added to concentrate or powder) means you are drinking the local water – are you confident it is safe? If not then have drinks from sealed bottles – and give the ice a miss for the same reason
    • Avoid dishes with undercooked eggs in, either breakfast or desserts – Salmonella is not so well controlled in many countries as it is in the UK

    If food is covered properly this is a good sign! Dessert Buffets - make sure hat cold buffets are well chilled Cold Buffets - avoid food with flies on it

    Watch Dr Lisa talking to Watchdog here