Questionable food safety instructions

The packaging of Woolworths slow cooked lamb shanks says, “Do not reheat or refrigerate once heated.”
According to those instructions, if you don’t finish the whole lot in one meal, you should leave the meat at room temperature and eat it later without re-heating it.
This seems to me to be a recipe for salmonella poisoning.
Are these instructions consistent with national food safety standards?

Do you have a photo of the packaging outlining the handling requirements?

I suspect that the instructions is about not reheating a second time or storing after the initial heating for later consumption - namely must be consumed on heating.

I suspect it doesn’t say ‘you should leave the meat at room temperature and eat it later without re-heating it.’


I do have a photo of the packaging, but I can’t see a way to upload it. The only mention I can find about post-heating handling requirements is,"“Do not reheat or refrigerate once heated.”

You should be able to copy and paste it into the editing window or upload a photo file using the image button in the editing window. image


Thanks. Here are the photos.


As indicated in my earlier post, the advice on the packaging is about not reheating a second time or storing after the initial heating for later consumption. It isn’t suggesting storing on the bench at room temperature and eating at a later date.

It is common knowledge that any cooked foods should be refrigerated as soon as practical after cooking (as soon as the food has cooled enough to be safely refrigerated). The packaging advises this can’t be done for this product after its heating, meaning it is recommended that it isn’t stored after heating but fully consumed.

If one assumes that it says to store at room temperature indefinitely until consuming at a later date, most perishable/putrescible products sold could be stored in similar ways as the labelling doesn’t say it can’t be. A reasonable consumer knows this isn’t the case.


The product ‘slow cooked lamb shanks’ has already been cooked. Hence the at home cooking is more like reheating the product. There may be differing views as to how many times something can be reheated or kept in the fridge after. Woolies look to have followed the once only for roasted and cooked red meat.

Should the product include a clarification to bin any product not consumed within a few hours of cooking (reheating) and added to the packet instructions? Not good for the brand, but what the instructions appear to be saying. I’ve a vague recollection I’ve seen similar instructions on other precooked ready products.


It would be a big improvement if the packaging actually recommended that the product “isn’t stored after heating but fully consumed.”


While going OT, another aspect is waste. Most prepack food is scaled to 2 serves. Anyone needing an odd number of serves will usually have leftovers. Economics affects whether it will be refrigerated and reheated for another meal or thrown in the bin.

While food is not clothing, many clothes are labelled dry clean only to ‘protect the manufacturer’. Although some fabrics cannot withstand water washes if everything labelled dry clean only was only dry cleaned the cost of the clothing would quickly be exceeded by the cost of the cleaning, another economic-life choice.

Would there be a parallel that the pervasive ‘do not reheat’ etc, ‘use within [x] days’ has become the common conservative approach to protecting the manufacturer just in case? Remember only a few years ago one could not get ‘doggy bags’ at cafes and restaurants but today they are fairly common with few clinging to ‘doggy bag’ terminology to ask for a container to take their leftovers home.


Including advice to “use within [x]” hours would be a positive step.

I wonder if it has been translated from another language.

Or, the manufacturer’s first language is not English?

I’ve seen similar types of poor wording in technical manuals translated, bymachine from other languages.

(e.g. Ducati motorbike manual, never start a cold engine)

Someone proof read it, know what was intended, but if you don’t already have a clue, then yes, it can be confusing.

Woolies branded and made in Australia from at least 82% Australian ingredients. One would hope Woolies procurement and marketing staff understand our consumer needs and how to use the Aussie version of English effectively. As others are suggesting it may simply be Woolies avoiding a difficult question on waste verses health risk?

I interpreted it as cook, eat and throw any leftovers out. No refrigeration nor reheating.


I think this whole food safety thing has got a bit out of hand. When I was growing up, if some meat had been left a wee bit too long in the fridge, cooking it up with a serious amount of Keens Curry Powder fixed the problem. I sometimes wonder how I reached my 8th decade. Note I said meat; ‘off’ fish is a completely matter.

Woolies are being sensibly conservative. Only take out of the pack the amount you will consume! Reheating again ie 3 times is problematic with ready cooked items.

If Woolies were being “sensibly conservative,” their instructions would include “consume within X hours of cooking.”

Maybe, just take enough out of the pack when purchased annd keep in fridge. Then heat only what your requirements are. Portions only heated once overall

I didn’t see the package instructions as a food safety warning.

Could be that putting the leftovers in the fridge and then reheating delivers a result that is not the same as it was designed for. That is a precooked meal designed to be reheated once and further chilling and reheating spoils the quality.

Just an observation.
The Woolies product and sauce is intended to be reheated in the package as supplied. It’s not to say one can’t remove a part portion and reheat separately.

That advice would be a useful addition to what appears on the package :slight_smile: