Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Dangers that lurk in your fridge

28 January 2014, 08:00Carine Visagie

Abuja - Ever been blown away by foul-smelling, mould-growing leftovers when you open your fridge?

Urgh. Time for a clean-up. But before you park the rubbish bin in front of the fridge, find out what you can keep and what you should definitely throw away.

Mouldy foods
There's no need to worry too much about the mouldy patch on that block of Cheddar cheese. If you're not too grossed out about it, you can simply cut off the mouldy section and still enjoy the rest of the cheese.

But if the cheese is actually covered in mouldy patches, it's probably best to just cut your losses, chuck it in the bin and add "cheese" to your shopping list. The same goes for firm fruits, vegetables and hard salami.

However, if mould has grown on other foods, such as luncheon meats, leftover meat and poultry, cooked pasta, casseroles, soft cheese, yoghurt, jams, bread or nuts, it's time to say goodbye.

Some moulds may cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems (that's why it's never a good idea to sniff mouldy foods). In the right conditions, a few moulds also produce so-called “mycotoxins” – poisonous substances that can make you sick. It's hard to tell just by looking at a mould whether it has produced toxins or not.

When a food shows heavy mould growth, chances are that the roots of the mould have penetrated the food deeply. More allergy-causing moulds could be present than meets the eye and it might be unsafe to eat.

Also, if dangerous toxins are indeed present, chances are that they've spread throughout the food. It's difficult for mould to penetrate dense foods – that's why hard cheese, hard salami and firm fruits and vegetables are generally safer.

Sour milk and yoghurt
It's pretty easy to tell when milk has gone sour: simply sniff at it. Another tell-tale sign is little flakes floating around in it.

While the pungent smell and the changed consistency is good enough reason for most people to ditch the milk, you might be wondering whether it's still okay to use.

If milk is a day or two past its sell-by date, it can still be safely consumed and it can still be used in milk-based recipes, such as pancakes. But as soon as you get that sour smell, it's better to just throw it away. Milk is just such an ideal growth medium for dangerous bacteria that one can never be too safe.

Also, if a yoghurt tub hasn't been opened, yoghurt past its sell-by date might also still be safe to eat. Note, however, that the yoghurt will gradually start to lose flavour, texture and nutrients. Eventually, it might also become unsafe to eat.

So, if it's one or two days past the sell-by date, have a go at it. But if it starts pushing a week or two, chuck the yoghurt in the bin. You'll be better off buying a fresh tub or two.

Smelly fish
You bought the fillet of kingklip, but just haven't had time to eat it. Is it still okay?

Fresh, uncooked fish is only good for one or two days in the fridge. If it's cooked, it should be okay for three to four days, but only if you heat it thoroughly before eating it.

But what if you can't remember when you bought it?

Well, then it's probably a good idea to get rid of the fish anyway. But if you need more confirmation, a strong "fishy" odour in your fridge is a tell-tale sign that fish has gone off.

Here's the important thing: meat might still look, smell and even taste fine, but it doesn't mean that it's safe to eat.

Check out this slideshow on the prevention of food poisoning.

Always check expiry dates and don't use raw minced meat that's been in the fridge for more than two days and steaks or chops that have been in there for more than four. If the minced meat has been cooked, it should be okay for about four days.

If you can detect a slime layer on luncheon meat, if meat has an odour or has changed colour, it's a definite no-no. But long before these changes occur, the meat might already be shaky.

Grimy greens
At last, some good news: fruit and veggies that aren't in a perfect, plump condition any more can still be used.

The best is to use the fruit/vegetables in cooked food, such as stews, soup or "potjiekos". The greens have merely lost their shape as a result of dehydration and natural enzymatic ageing.

By the time fruit and vegetables pose a health risk – in other words, when dangerous bacteria are present or when there's substantial mould growth – you wouldn't be keen to eat them anyway.


- Health24


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...