Food Safety Week 2014, a major event for the Food Safety Information Council is from 9th to 16th November, with the theme this year being the Temperature danger zone – keeping hot food hot and cold food cold. As we all know, food poisoning bacteria can survive and grow rapidly if food is left out in temperatures above 5°C and under 60°C. During food safety week, the Food Safety Information Council aims to raise current awareness of the temperature danger zone and gives us helpful advice on how to safely handle food.
This is a very timely reminder, after 25 Japanese tourists became ill due to an apparent case of food poisoning after sharing a meal during a flight stopover in Brisbane. You can read more about this case here.
Here are some simple tips for avoiding the Temperature Danger Zone:
Keep your fridge at or below 5°C. Use a fridge thermometer to check that the temperature stays around 4 to 5°C.
Make sure you have enough fridge space as fridges won’t work properly when they are overloaded or when food is packed tightly because the cold air cannot circulate.
If you are running out of room in your fridge, remove foods that are not potentially hazardous, such as alcoholic or soft drinks. The temperature of these foods is not critical and they can be kept cool in insulated containers with ice or cold packs.
Freshly cooked food, not for immediate consumption, should have the temperature reduced as quickly as possible. Divide into small portions and place in containers in the fridge or freezer as soon as it stops steaming.
Hot food needs to be kept and served at 60°C or hotter. If you are keeping it warm for someone put it in the oven at 60°C or at 100°C if that is as low as your oven will go. If you think the food will dry out, cool the plate or container until the steam stops rising, cover and put it into the fridge.
You can download some useful ‘how you cook, can make you crook’ posters and brochures here.
The Food Safety Information council has also put together some handy videos, including BBQ Food Safety, Cooler Food Safety, Cross Contamination, Fridge Food Safety and Handwashing Correctly. Click here to view these.