14 November 2022

Australian Food Safety Week – Raw and Risky

At the start of Australian Food Safety Week 2022, Western Australians are being warned to take care when storing and preparing food.

WA Health’s Managing Scientist Food, Peter Gray said with summer approaching, warming temperatures provided a favourable environment for bacterial contaminants in food to thrive and multiply.

“There were more than 5,000 reports of infectious diseases that cause gastroenteritis in 2021 in WA,” he said. 

“Of these the two most commonly reported diseases were campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis – both of which can be caused by eating raw or minimally cooked foods.”

Preventable foodborne illness cost Western Australians and the WA health system an estimated $53 million last year.

Mr Gray said Food Safety Week was a timely reminder about the risk of foodborne illness ahead of the warmer summer months.

Safety tips include -

  • Cooking chicken thoroughly to at least 75⁰C. If you don’t have a food thermometer, cook it until the juices run clear and there is no pink meat.
  • Cook beef and lamb to at least 63⁰C and pork to between 70⁰C and 75⁰C.
  • Never wash raw chicken. It can spread bacteria from the chicken all around the kitchen and food preparation areas.
  • Don't let raw chicken meat or juices come into contact with other foods.
  • Use different cutting boards and utensils when preparing chicken or other meats for cooking.
  • Wrap raw chicken before storing it in the fridge and place it on the bottom shelf to ensure juices don't drip onto other food items. Store raw chicken away from other foods in the fridge.
  • Don't let meat defrost at room temperature on the kitchen bench. Defrost it in the fridge or microwave instead.
  • When storing cooked meat, ensure it is kept chilled below 5°C. If it's been left out for more than four hours, throw it out.

Australian Food Safety Week 2022 runs until 19 November 2022.

For Play it Food Safe tips, visit healthywa.wa.gov.au/foodsafety.


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