Food poisoning

We've all driven the porcelain bus at some time. How can you avoid food poisoning?
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  • Updated:1 Jun 2005

04.Supermarket safety

When pushing your trolley down the supermarket aisle there are things you can watch out for to make sure you buy the safest, highest-quality food:

  • Frozen chickens that are slightly soft to touch have already begun to thaw. Look for another or go to another store. And frozen chickens which look ‘dented’ may have been thawed and refrozen.
  • Frozen vegetables, such as peas, which are frozen into a solid mass have probably been semi-thawed and refrozen — don’t buy them. Spinach is an exception to this rule.
  • Frozen food cartons that are wet, damp or sag in your hand have also probably begun thawing — don’t buy them.
  • If you find frozen or chilled foods left standing unattended in the aisle, go to another store.
  • Don’t buy frozen foods if they’re stacked above the ‘load line’ in horizontal freezers (usually a blue or black line with the words ‘load limit’ written above it) — they may be at too high a temperature.
  • Cans that look swollen or dairy products, like yoghurt, with the foil cover bulging may be going off.
  • Don’t buy leaking cartons, cans, bottles or other containers.
  • Don’t buy products with broken or imperfect seals or badly dented cans.
  • If a vacuum-packed product isn’t tightly packed, and the packet is loose around the product — don’t buy it.
  • Check for mould on foods such as cheese and crumpets — don’t buy them if you find it.
  • Check use-by dates and dates of packing, particularly on meat and dairy products.
  • Shop last for chilled and frozen food. Keep them in an insulated cooler or wrapped in several layers of paper until you get home. Make sure meat products are packed
  • Separately from other groceries. Take these kinds of groceries straight home.
  • If you find things wrong in your local store report it to the store manager. If they don’t take action, shop elsewhere next time and let your local authority know

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