Please keep an eye on the temperature this Australia Day – the temperature of your food that is! Make sure to keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
Dr Lisa Szabo, CEO of the NSW Food Authority, said temperature control is a key factor in reducing the risk of food poisoning especially when you’re cooking outdoors and enjoying our hot Aussie summer.
"Hot summer days and the traditional Australia Day BBQ are a perfect combination, however it’s also a perfect environment for bacteria to grow," she said. "There is typically a seasonal increase in Salmonella, one of the most common bacteria associated with food poisoning, during the warmer months."
There is an increased risk of bacterial growth with food kept inside the danger zone of 5 to 60 degrees Celsius so it’s vitally important to chill food below 5 degrees or heat it above 60 to avoid the nasties of food poisoning spoiling your Australia Day.
Dr Szabo said cooking and eating outdoors does bring its own set of unique challenges but following some simple food safety rules can help reduce risk.
"I suggest that people begin by practicing the same level of hygiene at a BBQ or picnic as you would when cooking in your own kitchen at home and always start by thoroughly washing and drying your hands. If you don’t have access to soap and water then sanitising gel or wipes can be used as an alternative," she said. "Just like home it’s important to keep the surfaces you are preparing the food on clean and, with being outside, you must keep an extra vigilant eye out for pests such as flies."
The NSW Food Authority recommends that if you’re having a barbecue this 26th January, you need to follow a few simple tips for outdoor cooking and dining:
- Don’t eat cooked foods or foods that should be refrigerated if they have been left out for more than two hours
- If you’re travelling, store uncooked and ready-to-eat foods in separate sealed containers and keep them cold during transport using a chiller bag or esky
- Keep benches, all equipment and tableware clean and dry
- Some meats need to be cooked thoroughly. It is important that there is no pink left in cooked meat like mince, sausages or chicken
- Use separate plates and utensils for cooking and serving
Source : Food Safety Authority website