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The Ten Main Reasons for Food Poisoning

  1. Inadequate cooling/refrigeration, food left at room temperature.  Food borne bacteria that may be present on food grows faster at temperatures between 5° - 60°C and can double in number every 20 minutes.  
  2. Too long between preparation and consumption.  Too often food is prepared too far in advance.  Preparing food too early is especially dangerous if cold food is stored outside the refrigerator, or hot food is allowed to get too cool.
  3. Inadequate reheating.  Food that is not reheated enough to kill the bacteria in it can cause food poisoning.  The minimum recommended core temperature is 75°C.
  4. Inadequate cooking.  Inadequate cooking means that food is not cooked enough.  Before you cook anything, know how to tell when it has been cooked enough. We have all heard stories of frozen turkeys & chicken being cooked - the outside being thoroughly cooked while the middle is still raw.
  5. Cross-contamination from raw to high risk/ready to eat foods. Cooked food is cross-contaminated by raw food.  Cooked food must be stored above raw food in the refrigerator or stored separately; different cutting boards must be used; knives must not be used for both raw and cooked food, or must be cleaned between the two.
  6. Infected food handlers. Food handlers pass on infections when handling food.  This is why it is important that people wash their hands after going to the toilet, smoking and handling rubbish.  If a staff member is ill with a stomach infection, diarrhoea, etc., they should not be cooking or working in a kitchen.
  7. Inadequate hot holding temperatures. Some bacteria will grow happily at a temperature of less than 60°C.
  8. Inadequate hand washing. We all think we know how to wash our hands but many of us don’t do it properly.  Some germs can stay alive for up to 3 hours and in that time they can be spread to all the things you touched.  So wash your hands regularly and properly throughout the day and especially when handling food.
  9. Contaminated raw foods and ingredients. We live in a microbial world, and there are many opportunities for food to become contaminated as it is produced and prepared.
  10. Improper cleaning of equipment and utensils.  Make sure that equipment and utensils are cleaned properly and stored in a way that protects them from contamination.  If in any doubt, wash items again before using them.  Food must also be stored hygienically in sealed, rodent-proof containers.

Learn how to avoid making the above mistakes... undertake CFT QLD's food safety training today.