Don’t spoil Christmas, observe food guidelines

16/04/2019 Posted by admin

EVERY year about 1.5 million Australians suffer from food related illnesses.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District has issued a warning to consumers and caterers to observe strict food handling, serving and storage guidelines throughout summer.

“Storing and serving food at incorrect temperatures or keeping it for too long at room temperature, increases the likelihood of food poisoning,” director for public health Tracey Oakman said.

“Many households and businesses have the important job of catering safely for large numbers of guests in the weeks ahead. This means that hosts have the responsibility to ensure guidelines for safe food handling and storage are implemented.

“Raw meat, fish, poultry as well as – and this may surprise some – raw vegetables can contain large numbers of bacteria that can readily contaminate other food if they are not stored or handled carefully.

“It’s a good idea to check that all your refrigerators are chilled to lower than 5C and that they are not overstocked.

“Hot foods need to be hot. Make sure hot foods are kept at least at 60C, and if you’re reheating leftovers, all parts of the food need to reach 75C before it can be safe to serve. If you’re unsure of the quality of any food, remember the old saying, if in doubt, throw it out,” Ms Oakman said.

Guidelines for the safe handling, storage and serving of food include:

– The safest way to thaw frozen food is either in a clean refrigerator or microwave; otherwise the longer it is left out at room temperature the more bacteria can multiply.

– Refrigerator temperature should be lower than 5C. Chilled food needs to bestored below this temperature, any higher and bacteria start to grow.

– Don’t overstock your fridge. There needs to be good airflow around food ensuring even distribution of temperature.

– Hot foods need to be kept at a temperature of 60C at which bacteria can¡¦t survive.

– Reheated foods should be quickly reheated until all parts of the food reach 75C.

– Use different cutting boards and knifes for raw and cooked food.

– Wash dirty hands thoroughly to stop the spread of bacteria.

For more information on food safety in NSW contact your local Public Health Unit or visit the NSW Health website:

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