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Warning: Eskom's giving you gastro!

by , 05 November 2014

The state of electricity in SA is in shambles.

It's a service you desperately need, pay for through your teeth and don't reap all the rewards you should.

And while Eskom and its infamous rolling blackouts currently have the country in a death grip, this could have a more literal meaning than you'd probably like to consider.

Because the effect Eskom's lack of service has on your kitchen could turn it into an infested biohazard mess in a matter of minutes!

A mess that could leave you suffering from a sever bout of gastro.

Here's why…

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The worst thing for food is to thaw and freeze it repeatedly

 
When the power turns off – especially in this heat – the foods in your freezer start to thaw. And when the power comes back on, they freeze again.
 
This has two effects:
 
1.    It changes the structural integrity of food.
 
Think about when you freeze water in a bottle. You always need to leave enough space in the top for expansion or the bottle will blow.
 
The same happens to food. If you do it once, it’s doesn’t have such a huge effect. It’s when ice constantly builds up in the food that it shreds the structure and destroys its natural shape and your food goes soggy.
 
2.    Bacteria begin to grow when food reaches an optimal temperature. The reason you freeze food is to stop any enzyme and bacterial activity. It doesn’t kill bacteria and enzymes, it just renders them useless. But when the food gets to a temperature they can begin to function again, they do.
 
So, when the food freezes again, it has more bacteria than before. Allow this to happen a couple times a week and you’ll be eating bacteria-laden food.
 
This harmful bacteria can affect your gut health and leave you with gastro or even food poisoning!
 
Luckily, you can beat Eskom’s death wish!
 
Here are six tips to protect your health when the power is off…
 
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Use these six tips to stop food going off during rolling blackouts

 
Tip #1: Cook food before freezing
 
Instead of popping food into the freezer after shopping, cook it immediately. This kills any bacteria in the food, so, even if it freezes and thaws, there should be little bacterial growth in the food.
 
Just make sure to use clean storage containers and only handle the food with clean, sanitised hands.
 
Tip #2: Cook with foods that don’t need refrigeration or freezing
 
Things like eggs, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, avos, garlic, butternut, gem squash, bread, pastries etc. don’t need to be kept in the fridge or freezer.
 
So make foods that use ingredients like these to prevent contamination.
 
Tip #3: Use canned foods
 
Using canned foods are safer for you to eat when there are rolling blackouts.
 
Canned foods like veggies, sardines, tuna and soup are easy to prepare and won't spoil when there’s no electricity.
 
Tip #4: Use a cooler box
 
If you do have items that need to be in the freezer, use a cooler box and freezer bricks.
 
To ensure food doesn’t thaw, put your food in the cooler box with freezer bricks and then put it inside the freezer. This give it double insulation and increases the time it takes for the food to thaw.
 
Tip #5: Pick food up as you need it
 
It might be a bit of a hassle, but rather buy food as you need it to prevent it going off. Especially perishables!
 
Tip #6: Inspect food before you use it
 
If there’s any change to the texture, normal colour or smell of food, rather throw it away.
 
There’s no indication how long Eskom is going to continue with its rolling blackouts. But luckily, with these six tips in hand, you’ll be safe from toxic foods that could leave your tummy in turmoil. 



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