Summer Food Safety Ensures A Happy Festive Season

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The Western Australia Department of Health is reminding people to pay close attention to food safety this festive season and avoid food poisoning.

Environmental Health Director Jim Dodds said it was important for people to practice safe food handling and good hygiene habits, particularly at this time of year as temperatures increased and people gathered together to share food and drinks.

”There are many avenues for food to be contaminated, especially when there are more people around and there is more food being prepared than at other times of the year,” he said.

“People are reminded to store food correctly, both before and after cooking and keep cold food cold and hot food hot.

“Special care should also be taken when preparing food for children and the elderly, as both groups are susceptible to food poisoning.”

Mr Dodds said important food safety precautions included:

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* Always washing your hands before preparing food and after handling raw meats, going to the toilet or doing any other activity that may cause contamination

* Avoiding cross contamination – prepare and store raw meat separately from cooked and ready to eat foods such as salad and cooked chicken

* Keeping food out of the temperature danger zone (between 5°C and 60°C). Food poisoning bacteria will start to multiply rapidly when chilled food is heated to temperatures above 5°C and will stop multiplying when food reaches 60°C

* Keeping leftovers for a maximum of three days and if reheating make sure the food is reheated until steaming hot

* Ensuring you have plenty of fridge and freezer space as overloading will reduce cooling efficiency.

Mr Dodds said it was also important to take extra care when cooking or preparing food in unfamiliar surroundings, such as parks or at other people’s houses.

“Practicing these simple rules will ensure that no one has to suffer from food poisoning over the holiday period,” he said.

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