Almost everyone has, at some stage experienced it- the stomach cramps, the nausea, the diarrhoea.
Every year more than 5 million Australians are estimated to contract a foodborne illness, 32,000 people are hospitalised, and sadly, up to 80 die.
Sophie Dwyer, Executive Director, Health Protection Branch of Queensland Health is beating the food safety drum in this Food Safety Week.
Now while Sophie’s choice of conversation may not enthral those at the dinner party, she’d be handy to have in attendance to check the food.
“A number of bugs can cause food poisoning, however the two most common are Campylobacter and Salmonella. In 2016, more than 7500 Queenslanders became sick with Campylobacter while there were almost 4800 reported cases of Salmonella.”
“There are many ways food can become contaminated including from soil, or from compost or irrigation water used on crops. Contamination can also occur when food is handled or processed by people with unclean hands, is processed with equipment that isn’t clean, or is cross contaminated by other food.
Sophie says one way to keep yourself and your family safe is to cook food thoroughly, which will usually kill bacteria and viruses and she’s advocates this years’ Food Safety Week theme- ‘Is it done yet? ‘
“Use a thermometer for great food, cooked safely every time. Using a thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of food— especially meat—gets high enough when cooking to kill bacteria and viruses, is a great way to improve food safety,”
“Meat, poultry and leftovers should be cooked to 75°C in the centre – the exception is whole meats such as steak, which can be cooked to taste as long as the exterior is thoroughly cooked.”
To test the temperature, the thermometer probe should be inserted in the thickest part of the meat, such as the thigh on poultry, not touching bone or gristle which can give a false reading.
Importantly, thermometer probes should be thoroughly cleaned each time they are used so as not to transfer contamination, after use and before storage.
Sophie has some other ideas for protecting yourself and your family.
1. Never use cracked or dirty eggs.
2. Prepare raw or lightly cooked egg dishes such as mayonnaise, aioli, custard and tiramisu as close as possible to consuming and refrigerate below 5°C. Dispose of any left-over food after 24 hours.
3. Don’t wash eggs or raw meats as this can spread bacteria around your kitchen.
4. Don’t consume unpasteurised milk or raw apricot kernels – they are unsafe to eat.
5. Store raw meats and seafood on the bottom shelf of your fridge so they don’t drip onto ready-to-eat foods.
6. Use separate chopping boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods
7. Refrigerate all cut fruits and vegetables.