14 November 2017

Tips to avoid food poisoning

Western Australians are being reminded to prepare their food safely, to avoid becoming one of the estimated 4.1 million people who get food poisoning each year in Australia.

Department of Health Food Unit Manager Stan Goodchild said that cooking food safely and thoroughly was the focus of this year’s Australian Food Safety Week (11-18 November).

“Bacteria grow easily on high-risk foods such as dairy products, meat, fish and seafood, and can multiply quickly to dangerous levels if food is not stored and cooked correctly,” Mr Goodchild said.

“These bacteria grow best at temperatures between 5o C and 60o C, known as the temperature danger zone for food.

 “It is important to make sure food is cooked thoroughly. Joints of meat and poultry should reach at least 75o C in their centre, the temperature that will kill most harmful bacteria.

“If you do not own a food thermometer, the easiest way to check if meat and poultry is cooked through is to make sure that juices are clear, not pink.”

Other tips to ensure that your food is prepared and stored correctly include:

  • Always defrost frozen food in the fridge or in a microwave oven set on ‘defrost’. Defrosting food on the bench top can be unsafe, and increase bacteria growth in foods as they defrost. 
  • Cook and serve food immediately – never leave high-risk food out at room temperature.
  • Refrigerate promptly all cooked and perishable food at or below 5° C.
  • Portion food before cooling, for example slice meats and cut large poultry into smaller portions. Place liquid foods such as casseroles in shallow containers (no more than 5cm deep) to allow for rapid cooling and place in the fridge as soon as it stops steaming.
  • If reheating food make sure it is reheated until steaming hot.
  • Do not store food too long, even in the fridge. Keep for a maximum of 3 days.

“Food Safety Week, which is promoted by the Food Safety Information Council, is also a timely reminder to educate people on the importance of food safety and refrigeration,” Mr Goodchild said.

To learn more about food safety visit at www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/foodsafety or take the Food Safety Information Council’s Food Safety Quiz at foodsafety.asn.au to test your knowledge about the safest action to protect you and your family.


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