Take along a list of tolerable food products when you go for shopping as long as you do not know everything by heart. Either as a hard copy or as an electronic Histamine-App (application for smartphones and tablet pc, e.g. iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android).
At the supermarket shelf always check the expiry date. Always choose the freshest fresh products whose storage life should still be as long as possible.Normally you will find the freshest products in the back part of the shelf whereas the older ones are placed in the front. Ask the shop assistants on which days of the week they normally receive new deliveries. If you want to purchase a certain product but there are only a few left with a best-before date coming soon, it could be better to postpone your shopping until the next fresh delivery arrives.
Don't choose products from the chiller cabinet which lie directly under the warm fluorescent tube.
Preferably choose meat that is vacuum-sealed instead of being packaged in a protective atmosphere or sold in bulk. The package protects the meat against contamination by germs and the vacuum reduces the growth of many types of bacteria. The protective atmosphere is an oxygen atmosphere which only protects the red colour of the meat in order to make it look fresher to the consumer than it actually is. The oxygen even accelerates deterioration and rancidification of the meat.
Carry home the chilled products in a cool bag immediately after shopping. If the transport takes longer time take along a freezer pack and put it on top.
Storage of foodstuff
In most of the refrigerators the coldest place is at the back and at the bottom (but above the vegetable cooler). Put the most perishable products there, the less sensitive ones can be stored in the warmer areas. Check the temperature in the fridge with a thermometer. It might be good to adjust a slightly lower temperature than usual (3º–5º C). Disadvantage: The lower the temperature the higher the energy consumption! Refrigerators belong to the biggest electricity guzzlers in the household. Replacing the old fridge by a new one of the highest energy efficiency grade, even if only adjusting the usual temperatures, pays off quickly.
Microorganisms (bacteria, yeast) are basically everywhere on surfaces and in the air. The more there are germs that contaminate the food, respectively are already in/on it, the faster histamine will be generated. Especially for food that is high in protein and easily perishable, freshness and an uninterrupted cold chain must be strictly adhered to.Good cooling at 0º to 5º C decelerates the growth of microorganisms. Freezing at –18º C decelerates these processes even more strongly but cannot stop them entirely. Therefore frozen food should not be stored longer than necessary, either.
Preparation and cooking of food
Defrost your food quickly (in cold water or in the microwave using the defrost setting). Heat it quickly after the thaw and consume it immediately after cooking. Especially fish should never defrost slowly in the fridge or at room temperature. Defrosted food must not be frozen again!
The expiry date is not always a reliable indicator for the freshness of a food product. Due to malfunction or negligence it can happen in rare cases that the spoilage of food has gone further than it normally would have. For example because the content was not pasteurized thoroughly enough, the package was not sealed properly or the cool chain was not maintained, but the products were sold however. Unfortunately there are also black sheep amongst food producers and dealers who redate the expiry date or repack the product. One can only hope not to be a victim of such doings too often. Therefore one should not rely implicitly on the expiry date but also check all products sensorily. Rely on your senses! This is vital especially for easily perishable fresh products. Does it look the way it should? Does it smell as it should? Is its consistency still unchanged? Histamine cannot be tasted but our senses can give us other indications concerning the freshness and quality of our food.
Don't eat too big portions but only as much as necessary to appease your hunger. The more you eat, the higher is your histamine uptake. It is no good to be hungry, either. The basic supply of nutrients has to be ensured in order to keep the organism healthy and functional. Not least the enzymes responsible for the breakdown of histamine also depends on a constant supply of certain vitamins and mineral nutrients. The food supply should better be spread over several small meals instead of having only few big meals per day. This helps to keep the body from overstraining degradation capacity by absorbing too much histamine and liberators at once.
Cook only small portions in order to avoid leftovers. If there are some, cool them down very quickly and freeze them or keep them in the fridge for 12 up to a maximum of 24 hours. In a multi person household leave them to those people who are not affected by histaminosis.
In the cold season cool down the food on the balcony first, then put it in the fridge. If the outdoor temperature is low, this works faster and saves electricity. If it is too warm outside, hot food can be cooled down in the kitchen at room temperature first and be put in the fridge later. Shortly after cooking, well-done food contains only very few active germs if it is handled under hygienical conditions.
The bacteria count on food should be kept low by good hygiene. Covering or packing in plastic wrap prevents the food to be contaminated by germs in the air. Furthermore, many germs cannot thrive when the food is hermetically sealed (but there are also anaerob germs who are not affected by a lack of oxygen).
Big portions can be chilled more quickly when they are divided into small portions in shallow containers. Especially the easily perishable components of a meal (pieces of fish or meat) should not be mixed together in a big bowl with other warm leftovers like rice, potatoes, pasta or vegetables, but should be cooled separately in a smaller container, because otherwise they can stay lukewarm for hours.