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Food Safety When It Comes To Moving House

When moving house, it’s important to take food safety into consideration. There are a few simple steps you can take to avoid contamination and keep your food safe. Of course it is always best to avoid transporting food when moving, especially without a proper refrigerated truck as food can spoil quickly. If you do need to transport food, plan ahead and pack food items securely. Make sure to keep refrigerated and frozen items cool by packing them with ice packs or dry ice. And always transport food in a clean, sanitized cooler or container. When you arrive at your new home, make it a priority and take care to unpack food items as quickly as possible.

Food should never be allowed to transported in temperature above 5℃, this can cause a whole range of issues as bacteria can grow and ingesting food that is contaminated can cause serious illness or even death. For this reason, most professional house movers will no accept food to be transported. In some instances where food is to be transported over a short distance, movers may assist in this task only if the food is properly packed and kept chilled. On the other hand, if you are thinking of finding long distance movers to help you with your move, the task of moving frozen or refrigerated food will most likely be left to you. As recommended in the Australian Cold Chain Guidelines from the Australian Food and Grocery Council, chilled food must be store and transported at temperatures colder than +5℃, whilst frozen food must be store and transported at temperatures colder than -18℃.

When planning for an upcoming house move, it is recommended to stop grocery shopping well before moving date and have a plan to consume what is left in the freezer and refrigerator. Reducing the amount of food is the best bet for food safety and if you do need to take some food with you, keep it to the bare minimal. However, sometimes we don’t have the adequate time to plan for life changing events so if you must transport food, here are some food safety tips to follow:

Keep what is absolutely necessary

Wasting food is never a good idea but when it comes to food safety, it is better to be safe than sorry. Before packing food for the move, go through your fridge and freezer and get rid of anything that is past its expiration date. Try and cook and consume any food that is nearing the expiration date. If there are any opened containers, it is best to either consume them before moving day or toss them out. If you don’t think you’ll be able to consume what is remaining, you can share them with family and friends, donate it to charities or a local open pantry. If you are not moving a long distance, you can make arrangements to keep what is absolutely necessary but be sure to pack them well and take precautionary steps to reduce cross-contamination and exposure to increased temperatures during the course of transport.

Keep food cool and store properly

One of the most important food safety tips is to store food properly and keep it cool, especially if you are transporting food. Bacteria grows rapidly in temperatures between 5.4-60℃, so it is important to keep food out of this temperature range as much as possible. Use ice packs, frozen bottles of water or bags of ice to keep temperatures low over the course of travel. Use a well-insulated cooler, esky or a styrofoam box made for cold food transport. Any other form of storage containers and boxes may be prone to leaks and can cause damage to furniture and belongings.

What to consider during transportation

If you are transporting food in a vehicle, make sure it is placed in an area that is not in direct sunlight and away from heaters. It is important that the area of the vehicle with the food should be thoroughly cleaned and lined to avoid any chance of contamination. Consider packing the food last so to keep it frozen for longer and ensure the refrigerator is the first thing that is unloaded and connected at the destination as all food transported should be made a priority when unpacking.

Food Safety

Here are some recommendations to help prevent bacterial food-borne illness. 1. When shopping for raw and cooked perishable foods, be sure the food is being stored at a safe temperature in the store. Don’t select perishable food from a non-refrigerated aisle display. Never choose packages which are torn or leaking. 2. When ordering food from the deli department, be sure the clerk washes his hands between handling raw and cooked items or puts on new plastic gloves. Don’t buy cooked ready-to-eat items which are touching raw items or are displayed in the same case. 3. Don’t buy cans that are dented, leaking, or bulging; food in cracked glass jars; or food in torn packaging. Tamper- resistant safety seals should be intact. Safety buttons on metal lids should be down and should not move or make a clicking noise when pushed. Do not use any product beyond its expiration date! 4. Immediately refrigerate or freeze perishable foods after transporting them home. Make sure thawing juices from meat and poultry do not drip on other foods. Leave eggs in their carton for storage and don’t place them in the door of the refrigerator. Keep the refrigerator clean. 5. Food stored constantly at 0 °F will always be safe. Only the quality suffers with lengthy storage. It’s of no concern if a product date expires while the product is frozen. Freezing keeps food safe by preventing the growth of micro- organisms that cause both food spoilage and food-borne illness. Once thawed, however, these microbes can again become active so handle thawed items as any perishable food. 6. Store canned foods and other shelf stable products in a cool, dry place. Never put them above the stove, under the sink, in a damp garage or basement, or any place exposed to high or low temperature extremes. 7. Wash hands, utensils, can openers, cutting boards, and countertops in hot, soapy water before and after coming in contact with raw meat, poultry, or fish. 8. Many cases of food-borne illness are caused by take-out, restaurant, and deli-prepared foods. Avoid the same foods when eating out as you would at home. Meat, poultry, and fish should be ordered well done; if the food arrives undercooked, it should be sent back. 9. Wash cutting boards with hot, soapy water after each use; then rinse and air dry or pat dry with fresh paper towels. Non-porous acrylic, plastic, or glass boards and solid wood boards can be washed in an automatic dishwasher (laminated boards may crack and split).