Jenna answers your Food Safety Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I always have to reheat my baby’s food? You can safely serve leftover food to baby cold straight from the fridge (or from defrosting)... just make sure that you popped it in the fridge less than 2 hours after cooking! Having the option to serve food cold is great when you’re out and about or if you just simply want to experiment with different temperatures of food! But remember that if you do want to serve food to your baby warm, always reheat until piping hot and allow it to cool down for your baby before serving.
2. Why can’t I just warm up my baby’s food rather than reheating until piping hot? This would be so much quicker when my baby is hungry! Although it’s tempting, it is important that you do not partially reheat food for your baby to avoid having to wait for it to cool down! When reheating food, there is a ‘danger zone’ between 8°C and 63°C which is the range where harmful bacteria can multiply rapidly. In order to make sure the food you serve your baby is as safe as possible, you want to keep it out of this ‘danger zone’ and either serve cold from the fridge (ensuring it was cooled as quickly as possible after cooking) or reheat until piping hot and eat within 2 hours.
3. How long can I store my baby’s food for? The length of time you can store food for will depend on how it’s stored and what it contains! All of our My Little Foodie recipes have storage guidelines on the recipe card, but here’s a handy guide to help:
In the Fridge: Fresh leftovers should be kept in the fridge and used within 2 days; however…. If the dish contains rice or is a stage 1 or 2 puree which has been thinned using formula milk then they should be used within 1 day.
Defrosted food: Food which has been defrosted should be used within 24 hours
In the Freezer:You should aim to use any portions of baby’s food in the freezer within 1- 3 months. BUT…. It’s important to know that the safety of the food will not be affected if your baby’s food has been in the freezer for longer than this (providing it has remained frozen solid). The freezer acts as a ‘pause button’ on bacteria, however, the quality of food in the freezer will deteriorate over time.
4. Can I freeze portions made with previously frozen ingredients? Yes! Even if you used defrosted raw meat or used frozen veggies you can still portion and freeze the cooked leftovers to reheat another day! The only exception to freezing of course are when you are simply already reheating previously cooked foods, as you should only reheat food once.
5. I’ve noticed ‘Do not Refreeze’ statement on the back, is it ok to freeze? ‘Do not Re-freeze’ is a statement you will often see this statement on a wide range of foods (anything from peas to raw meat) but don’t let it put you off freezing your leftovers! This statement generally refers to not refreezing the food once thawed, without cooking first. *Please note, if the back of pack information specifically states not to freeze once cooked or not to reheat, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions*
6. I’m new to weaning - Do I need to sterilise my baby’s weaning equipment? If you’re weaning around the recommended age of 6 months, then there is no need to sterilise the equipment you use for food such as bowls, spoons or cups. Washing in hot soapy water or using a dishwasher will be sufficient for these weaning essentials, though you should continue to sterilise baby bottles until your baby is 12 months old.
7. I found something that went out of date a couple of days ago, it still looks and smells okay – is it okay to use it? If the food has an expired ‘Use By’ date – this date mustn’t be ignored, even if it has been stored correctly and looks and smells fine. After the use by date, don’t eat, cook or freeze your food. If the food has a ‘Best Before’ date, then providing the food has no visible signs of mould or decay then it is absolutely fine to eat food past this date! Best before dates are for quality purposes only so just be aware that the food may not be at its best after this date.
8. Can I keep leftover rice? It is absolutely fine to keep leftover rice, but it is a particularly high-risk product so it’s important you handle it safely. Always make sure you cool leftover rice as quickly as possible, ideally within 1 hour, and pop it in the fridge to use the next day or freeze for a later date. For more information, check out the full section on ‘handling leftover rice’
9. My baby/ toddler is refusing their food. Is it okay for them to just come back to it a bit later? Babies have ever-changing appetites! If your little one is refusing the fresh meal you have cooked for them, then you can pop it back in the fridge and reheat a little later. If you’ve already reheated the food, then this food should be eaten within 2 hours of reheating. Food should only be reheated once.
10. Do I need to wash my fruit and veg? Fruit and veg is an important part of your little one’s diet which is why you’ll find lots of it in our My Little Foodie meal kits! Although fruit and veg are low risk foods, bacteria can be found on these foods too so it’s important to remember to always wash these thoroughly under cold running water before serving. If you have a question which you haven’t found the answer to above, don’t forget to check out the food safety section on our members portal where you’ll find LOTS more information on everything from…