How to enjoy the Festive Season on a budget and be food safe – Dollars and Sense (11 December 2023)

The Food Safety Information Council today released their food safety tips about how to enjoy the Festive Season and Summer entertaining on a budget and also be food safe.

Cathy Moir, Council Chair, said that we are all looking forward this Summer to getting together with multi-generations of family and friends which will include those most at risk if they get food poisoning: the very young, elderly, pregnant, and people with poor immune systems.

‘With an estimated 4.67 million cases of food poisoning a year in Australia we all want to keep our family and friends safe, which we can do by following some simple tips.

‘Here are six key Festive Season and Summer entertaining food safety tips which may also help reduce the cost of food and waste less:

  1. Share the load Firstly, as many of us will be on a budget, why not share the load with family and friends contributing dishes. Just make sure those coming a long distance don’t bring high risk foods such as creamy desserts or poultry and meat.
  2. Make space:  Make room in your fridge for perishable foods by removing alcohol and soft drinks and put them on ice in a container or laundry sink. This also stops guests opening the fridge so often and helps to maintain the temperature at 5°C or below. Use a fridge thermometer to check the fridge temperature.
  3. Talking turkey Think about getting a turkey breast that is simpler to cook, rather than a whole turkey. If you do need a whole turkey ask your supermarket or butcher if they sell them fresh rather than frozen.
  4. Christmas ham won’t last forever – check the storage instructions and best before or use by dates before removing the ham from its plastic wrap. Cover it with a clean cloth soaked in water and vinegar, keep the cloth moist so it doesn’t dry out, and store it in the fridge at or below 5°C. Reduced salt hams are now becoming popular but will not last as long as conventional hams so think how much you are going to use in the next few days and freeze the rest for later.
  5. Phased roll-out – Don’t leave perishable chilled foods out in the heat of Summer for more than 2 hours. These foods include cold meats, soft cheeses like Camembert and Brie, cold poultry, cooked seafood like prawns and smoked salmon, dips, pâtés, sushi and salads. Put out small amounts and replace them (do not top them up) from the fridge.
  6. Love those leftovers Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible. If perishable foods and leftovers have been left out of the fridge for less than two hours they should be okay to eat, refrigerate or freeze to eat.

‘Finally, check out this month’s Rolled Pavlova Food Safe Recipe which is just the thing for entertaining this Summer,’ Ms Moir concluded.

‘We would like to thank our partner Tonic Media Network who will be showing our handwashing and food safety community service announcements in GP, Pharmacy and hospital waiting rooms around Australia this Summer. Also, thanks to our member On Solution for their charitable donation to fund our Summer campaign and SA Health and ACCORD for their funding of our consumer research,’ Ms Moir concluded.

Media contacts: Lydia Buchtmann, Communication Director, 0407 626 688 or