Empanadas during the Fiestas Patrias – avoid getting sick!

SANTIAGO – With the Fiestas Patrias ahead of us, we start stashing our refrigerator with meat for the asado, pisco for the late nights and empanadas for whenever we are hungry. But be careful! In a special release, the regional secretary of the Ministry of Health (Seremi) warned that our beloved empanadas only last three days in the refrigerator.

For the upcoming festivities in Chile, the regional secretary of the Ministry of Health (Seremi) Rosa Oyarce inspected empanada companies, located in Estación Central and Santiago Centro. As the factories didn’t comply with some sanitarian requirements, warnings have been given. Warnings that go for both those producing and consuming empanadas: rotten empanadas will ruin your Fiestas Patrias.

During the campaign, performed to secure consumers’ health while celebrating the festivities, the regional health authority has inspected more than 25 empanada companies. Fines were given to companies that broke the sanitarian rules. One company found itself closed, as it had feces of what seemed to be derived from rats in its facilities.

A Seremi´s guide to the empanada

“During these weeks, we are increasing our inspections of empanada companies. To avoid intoxications because of perished food, produced by the spoiling of ingredients such as meat or onion, or for not keeping food properly restored,” the Seremi said.

The functionary underlined that empanadas are a type of food that should be consumed immediately, and should be warmed on a temperature of 65° Celsius (149° F). However, Oyarce highlighted that empanadas should not be too hot, so that people can easily grab them and eat them right away. She added that it is very important to preserve empanadas inside the refrigerator, at around 5° Celsius (41°F), and not for more than 3 days.

Some advice to take into account…

When buying empanadas on the street, it is important to pay attention to the appearance and the taste, as you can tell whether they are edible or not. For example, the pastry should look well baked and golden. When the empanada looks white or has a crumbly structure, better leave it.

The inside of the empanada should be juicy instead of dry, and it also should content chopped or ground beef. The stuffing inside must be well cooked, as raw onion could get sour, and it can cause an stomachache. The proportion of onion must be equal to the meat.

The Seremi urged Chileans to buy empanadas just in authorized establishments, which must be clean. Food handlers must have a high personal cleanliness while preparing food, and use the obligatory clothing like a cap and apron. They are also forbidden to wear rings, bracelets, or varnish nails while working. The person who handles food must not receive or give money, as it represents a risk of transferring bacteria. 

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