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10 November 2014

Australian Food Safety Week 9–15 November 2014

The Department of Health is reminding Western Australians to follow safe food practices as summer approaches.

During Australian Food Safety Week 2014 consumers are reminded of the need to maintain fifty-five degrees of separation; and to avoid leaving food exposed in the danger zone of between 5°C and 60°C where bacteria can grow quickly and lead to food poisoning.

The Department of Health’s Acting Director of Environmental Health, Dr Mike Lindsay said  food poisoning bacteria could grow rapidly if perishable food was left out of the fridge or if cooked food was not refrigerated or frozen promptly after cooking.

“Bacteria can grow rapidly on foods, producing toxins that are not destroyed by further cooking,” Dr Lindsay said.

“Keeping food out of the 5°C to 60°C danger zone is essential to minimise the risk of food poisoning.”

Simple tips for avoiding the food temperature danger zone include:

  • 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 leave enough space in your fridge between items to ensure that cold air can circulate effectively. If your fridge is too full of items, remove those that are not as susceptible to bacterial growth, such as alcoholic or soft drinks, which can be kept cool in insulated containers with ice or cold packs without risk.
  • Freshly cooked food that is not for immediate consumption, should be cooled and divided into serving portions then placed in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer for later use.
  • Hot food should be kept and served at 60°C or hotter. When keeping a meal warm place it in the oven at 60°C or above.
  • Thaw meat by placing it in the fridge the night before or using the defrost setting on your microwave.

Further tips and information about food safety can be found in the Healthy Living link of the Healthy WA website at: www.healthywa.wa.gov.au

Media contact: (08) 9222 4333

Follow us on Twitter: @WAHealth

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