Preparing Christmas holidays meals with more than 48 hours in advance may increase the risk of food-borne illness

One of the important and common issues among Spanish families is the conservation of the Christmas leftovers. It is very important to follow de right steps to prevent food contamination and cause some sort of food poisoning.Maite Pelayo, microbiologist and specialised representative of Silestone Institute, does not recommend reusing or freezing the leftovers home preparations. However, during Christmas holidays lots of people decide to prepare large amounts of food and if they do not keep them, it would become a major waste of food. For this reason, the Silestone institute advised not to consume those foods made with a margin of more than 48 hours.To maintain leftovers in a hygienic way is advisable to use lunchboxes, however keep in mind certain precautions:

• Examine the appearance of the product by looking at the label containing information concerning the ingredients, how to conserve the product and the expiration date.

• Make sure to always keep the refrigerator at a steady cold level, as at ambient temperature the bacteria start to multiply.

• Separate raw foods from cooked foods so as to avoid a possible transmission of microorganisms through cross-contamination. Do not mix the utensils and containers between raw and cooked foods.

• Conserve food products that require to be preserved at colder temperatures in refrigerators in plastic bags and keep the ice frozen so as not to drip water and place them in the freshest place possible.

• Use drinking water and always wash hands before handling food.

• Wash all utensils and surfaces each time you handle a different food, keeping in mind that your hands are cooking utensils as well.

• Prepare salads including raw vegetables and cold meats (or sausages) at the last moment, having washed them well at home (the place most hygienic to do so).

• Cook the tortilla in advance so as you can cool it and allow the egg to set well.

• Avoid sauces that contain eggs (if they are mass-produced they will need to be consumed in a small amount of time to avoid recontamination).

• Store dairy products and desserts made with eggs in the cold until the last moment.

• Check that the meat is well cook in order to guarantee that all germs have been eliminated.

• Cook foods at a high temperature for longer such as frying, baking, stewing etc. as these are effective hygienic methods.

• Remember that there are cleaning products, countertops, refrigerator and even switches that have bacterial properties that facilitate the correct conditions of hygiene in the kitchen.