Mother’s Day wishes don’t include food poisoning

Media release

6 May 2010

Breakfast in bed, a day off kitchen duty, and multi-generational family gatherings are often parts of a great Mother’s Day. To answer all Mum’s wishes, the Food Safety Information Council is highlighting the need to make the day a safe food day.

“Those wanting the perfect day for Mum may be creating kitchen treats without much experience so it’s important for them to carry out the food safety basics,” Juliana Madden, Council Executive Officer says.

“A day of pampering shouldn’t result in Mum, or any family or friends, becoming one of the more than 5 million Australians estimated to suffer from food poisoning each year,” Juliana says. “Just following the Council’s simple food safety tips help avoid this.”

The Council’s basic food safety tips are:

Clean: Wash hands with soap and warm, running water for 20 seconds and dry for 20 seconds, before, during and after cooking. This not only decreases the risk of food poisoning, but also curbs the spread of flu and other illnesses. Keep cooking utensils and all surfaces your food will touch scrupulously clean to avoid contamination with food poisoning bacteria and viruses. Also avoid cooking for others if you are unwell.

Choose: The best meals come from the freshest ingredients. Choose ingredients with use-by dates that will be on or after the day food will be used.

  • Eggs should be clean and uncracked to minimise the salmonellosis risk.
  • Avoid soft cheeses and cold cut delicatessen meats if gatherings include people in vulnerable populations such as the elderly, the pregnant, the very young, or those who are immune suppressed – these groups may be susceptible to Listeria infection.

Chill: Keep perishable foods out of the temperature danger zone of between 5 and 60°C, where food poisoning bugs multiply rapidly. Refrigerate food as soon as possible after cooking or buying. Ask for ice when buying seafood. Serve hot food steaming hot. Put leftovers into the fridge as soon as they stop steaming.

Cook: Chicken, sausages, minced meat dishes, hamburgers, rabbit, and rolled and stuffed meats must be cooked right through, until the juices run clear.Campylobacter and E. coli are major causes of food poisoning, but are killed by cooking.

Separate: Raw chicken, meat, fish, unpeeled root vegetables, and other foods which may be sources of contamination should be kept separate from ready to eat foods such as salads, fruits and cooked meats. Make sure raw chicken and meat are stored below other foods in the fridge to avoid cross contamination.