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How to store and prepare convenience foods safely

If you buy convenience food that needs to be heated remember to check the Use by date, store the food in your fridge, check for damaged packaging and don’t reheat leftovers after cooking.

Prepared convenience food are meals found in chilled section of the supermarket that don’t need much preparation or cooking but do need some form of heating – like roast chicken dinner with veg or lasagne.

People don’t always check Use by instructions on these convenience foods and often don’t notice potential food safety risks, a safefood report found . And some people reheat leftovers from these meals which is also a food safety risk. To help people avoid getting sick when eating such convenience foods our expert have a few tips.

Use By dates

The “use-by” date tells us when the food will become unsafe to eat. so we should always check it when buying food and before eating or cooking it.

Also the Use by date is only accurate when the food is stored properly and the packaging is completed sealed. Cooked meats for example must be stored in your fridge at 5° Celsius or less. Always check the label for instructions around storing.

A food label will also tell you how long the food will stay safe after opening the packaging. Normally you should eat it with in 2 or 3 days. 

Here’s more on Use by dates


Store prepared convenience foods in the fridge unless products instructions are given for freezing. To be sure, always check instructions when you buy prepared convenience food. 

Never reheat

Do not reheat and eat leftover prepared convenience foods unless specific instructions are provided for the safe reheating of the product. This is because the food has been cooked before you buy it and so you are reheating at home. You should not reheat cooked food more than once. 

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