Be food safe and save

It’s Australian Food Safety Week (9-16 November), a timely reminder that food storage is not only important to your health but also your wallet.

Brisbane's subtropical climate means our food is easily spoiled by heat, humidity, sunlight and pests.

Knowing how to correctly store food can keep it fresher for longer and help you feel confident about food safety. By throwing out less good food, you'll save money and reduce waste to landfill.

‘Use By’ versus ‘Best Before’ and other food storage tips

Do you know your ‘use by’ dates from your ‘best before’ dates? The 'use by' date on a package indicates the food needs to be eaten by a certain date due for healthy and safety reasons. However, the 'best before' date is only a guide on how long you can expect the item to retain its optimum colour, taste and texture, so it’s often safe to consume after this date.

Did you know the humidity in your fridge and crisper can be adjusted? As a general rule, foods that 'rot' should be stored in a low humidity setting, while foods that 'wilt' should be stored in high humidity area. Ethylene is another factor that can cause produce to spoil unexpectedly. Ethylene is a gas emitted by some fruit and vegetables that can cause other nearby produce to ripen more quickly.

We also have lots of tips on how you can store food and make it last longer.

Make your dollar go further

Food waste is ultimately a result of buying too much and cooking too much, and when we throw away uneaten food, we are throwing away money. At the time it may not seem like much – $1 here and $5 there – but over the year, it can add up. Read our easy to follow tips on how you can make your small change go further.

Our top tips for food safety and money saving

  • Avoid overcrowding in your fridge. Air must be able to circulate around food for the fridge to keep it cool.
  • Store fresh produce, raw meat and cooked foods separately and avoid cross contamination.
  • Avoid leaving food out of your fridge for more than two hours. 
  • Check the door seals on your fridge and freezer and replace if they are not sealing correctly. 
  • Check the temperature in your fridge is steady – between three and four degrees Celsius. You can buy fridge thermometers at supermarkets and specialist kitchen stores.
  • Store eggs in their original cartons if possible. If you do put eggs into your fridge egg tray, write the 'use by' date on the last egg. To check the freshness of an egg, place it in a tall glass of water. Eggs that float to the top should not be eaten.

Start saving now

One in five shopping bags of food we buy will end up in the bin. That’s around $2200 to $3800 your household might be throwing away each year. You would never intentionally throw away thousands of dollars - but a couple of brown bananas one week, a loaf of mouldy bread the next and it all starts to add up. Learn more about the cost of food waste.

Related links

Date posted:
Last updated:12 November 2019
Topics: green