Keeping food safe – at home

Did you know that food poisoning:

  • is caused by bacterial contamination and growth on food that has not been properly handled, stored or cooked
  • can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps
  • is easily avoided by following simple hygienic practices listed below

Safe food preparationwashing tomatoes

When preparing food always:

  • wash your hands and nails with soap and water, and dry well, before you handle any food
  • use a separate board and knife for preparing raw meats and vegetables
  • thaw frozen foods in the fridge or in the microwave
  • do not refreeze thawed or partially thawed food
  • wash all fruits and vegetables.

Safe food cooking

When cooking meals always:

  • make sure your food is cooked properly – raw meats such as chicken and mince should be cooked to at least 750C to destroy the bacteria (whole pieces of meat such as roasts and steaks may be cooked rare)
  • reheat previously cooked foods to 600C or above – do not reheat food more than once
  • keep hot foods hot (600C or above)  and cold foods cold (50C or less).

When saving left overs:

  • portion food into small containers so it cools quicker
  • allow food to cool slightly (about 20 minutes) and then refrigerate.
2 hour 4 hour rule
  • if leftovers are left at room temperature for more than 2 hours then it cannot be refrigerated and saved for later, however it is safe to consume straight away
  • if leftovers are left at room temperature for more than 4 hours then it is not safe to consume and must be discarded.

Safe food storage

When storing food always:

  • store cold foods below 50C
  • put food in clean containers with a lid or cover with plastic wrap
  • store raw foods below cooked foods (this will prevent juices from raw meat dripping on top of the cooked foods and contaminating them)
  • avoid overcrowding your fridge
  • check “use by” and “best before” dates.

“Use by” means food MUST be eaten before that date or else it will become unsafe and can risk food poisoning.

“Best before” means you can still the food for a short time after that date as it should still be safe but it may have lost some nutrition and quality.

Safe cleaningpaper towel

When cleaning the kitchen after cooking always:

  • use hot water and detergent to clean bench tops, cutting boards, knives and cooking equipment
  • air dry equipment where possible or use a clean tea towel
  • change or disinfect sponges or dishcloths regularly and allow to dry after use
  • empty and clean your garbage bin regularly.

Never use the same dishcloths for cleaning floors and food preparation surfaces. Have a separate cloth or paper towel, to clean up spills on floor.

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