Dried and preserved foods such as barbequed meat, sausages, meat floss, nuts and lotus seeds, and preserved fruits like dates and mangoes are common in Singapore. While we enjoy these food, they can be unsafe to eat if they become mouldy or contaminated by harmful bacteria.
As a consumer, you can do your part to minimise your health risks by choosing dried and preserved food that is properly packaged. Always check that the food is in good condition before consumption.
The following tips will enable you to enjoy safe dried and preserved food all year round.
- Choose dried and preserved food that are properly packaged. Do not buy any packets that have been damaged or opened.
- Do not buy mouldy food as they may contain mycotoxins.
- Do not buy food with insect infestations.
- For unpacked dried and preserved food, take note of the personal hygiene of the seller, the environmental hygiene of the retail establishment and the cleanliness of the container.
- Buy only from credible sources.
- Do not taste food that show signs of spoilage.
- Inspect dried and preserved food regularly for insect infestations, mouldiness and other signs of spoilage. Discard when necessary.
- Store unopened dried and preserved food in a cool and dry place, away from heat or direct sunlight.
- Dried and preserved food that are to be kept for extended periods of time should be stored in packaging that does not allow air or water vapor into the package to prevent rancidity or growth of moulds.
- Once a pre-packed dried and preserved food is opened, transfer the unused portion to air-tight containers and keep them in the refrigerator to maintain their quality.
- Do not overstock your food supplies. Rotate your supplies of dried and preserved food by using the oldest first - follow the rule of first in / first out.