Grey Nomads urged to be food-smart

Media release Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing

10 April 2008

The Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Senator Jan McLucas, today urged Grey Nomads to be food-smart when they hit the highways this year.

“With the season now upon us when many Australians take to the road, it is important to remember basic safety precautions when handling food,” she said.

Every year about 5.4 million Australians get food poisoning, and 120 people die as a result. This year a Fact Sheet,On the Road, has been produced by the Food Safety Information Council aimed at older travellers.

“Food safety is especially important to older people, who potentially have less immunity against infections, and in particular less digestive system capacity to destroy bacteria ingested in food,” Senator McLucas said.

“Many Grey Nomads from southern Australia head north, and they are often unaware of the extra risk posed by the hotter and more humid climate when preparing and storing food.”

  • The basic precautions are very simple, and include:
  • If reheating food, reheat to steaming hot;
  • Keep food refrigerated at or below 5°C;
  • Separate raw from ready-to-eat food to avoid contamination; and
  • Ensure that preparation areas, utensils and hands are clean.

“The tips prepared by the Food Safety Information Council are extremely important when travelling because the food safety risks are greater with food prepared outdoors or in cramped kitchenettes; fridges are smaller and may be shut down when travelling, and clean running water may not be available,” Senator McLucas said.

“It’s great to see people enjoying the outdoor life, but imagine what it would be like if you got food poisoning when you were in a remote area, a long way from a doctor.

“The travelling life should be carefree – without the worry of food poisoning, which is preventable with just a little care to cook, chill, clean and separate our food.”

The On the Road fact sheet is available at What’s New, on the Food Safety Information Council’s web site:

The Food Safety Information Council is Australia’s leading disseminator of consumer-targeted food safety information. It is a non-profit organisation supported by the Department of Health and Ageing, state and territory health and food safety agencies, local government, and leading professional, industry and community bodies. Further information:

Media contacts:

Mark Davis, Office of Senator Jan McLucas 0417 864 096

Juliana Madden Food Safety Information Council 0407 626 688