Busting myths with Food Safety Week

Food safety

This year’s Australian Food Safety Week will be busting food safety myths with the theme for ‘Did you know?’ Held from 8 to 15 November, the week will clear up common food safety myths about what causes food poisoning.

About 4.1 million people suffer food poisoning in Australia each year, according to the Food Safety Information Council. The Council organises Australian Food Safety Week to highlight information about food safety and provide simple tips to help people reduce their risk of getting sick.

Here are some of the myths being busted this Food Safety Week.

  • It was the last thing you ate. If you get food poisoning it may not have been the last thing you ate, as sometimes symptoms can take several days or weeks to appear.
  • The ‘five second rule’. Some say you can pick up food dropped on the floor and eat it if it has been there less than five seconds. Not true, as bacteria don’t wait before contaminating the food.
  • Food poisoning is just a mild illness. Each year an estimated 1 million Australians have to visit a doctor with food poisoning, 32,000 people end up in hospital and 86 people die1.

Reduce your risk of contamination by following these simple tips from the Food Safety Information Council1:

  • Clean – wash hands with running water and soap, then dry thoroughly before starting to cook and after handling raw meat.
  • Chill – transport your chilled or frozen food home from the shops in a cooler bag or esky. Use a fridge thermometer to make sure your fridge is running at or below 5ºC. Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Cooked food should be stored in covered containers and immediately put in the fridge to cool or frozen. Frozen foods should be defrosted in the fridge or microwave, not on the kitchen bench.
  • Cook – cook chicken, minced or boned meats, hamburger, stuffed meats and sausages right through until they reach 75°C using a meat thermometer. Serve hot food above 60ºC. Always follow cooking instructions on packaged foods.
  • Separate – food should be stored in covered containers in the fridge and put raw meats and poultry in the bottom of the fridge so the juices don’t contaminate food on lower shelves. Don’t place cooked meat back on the same plate that raw meat touched.

Further information, including activities and mail outs for your business are available at the Food Safety website.

You can also take the Food Safety Quiz to test your knowledge.

Safe food handling is especially important in aged care because older people are more susceptible to food-borne illnesses2 that can have serious effects on their health.

1 http://www.foodsafety.asn.au/australian-food-safety-week-2015/shell-media-release-2015/

2 http://www.foodsafety.asn.au/resources/aged-care-facilities-and-food-safety-when-taking-food-for-residents/

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