As part of Australian Food Safety Week, Whitsunday Regional Council is urging local consumers to take food poisoning seriously.

Director of Community Services, Julie Wright, said this year for Australian Food Safety Week 2020 we will be building upon the good consumer behaviour established during the COVID-19 pandemic so we can continue to reduce the amount of foodborne disease.

“Food poisoning is more than a minor stomach upset, it can be life threatening especially for the elderly, pregnant women and their unborn babies and people with compromised immune systems,” Ms Wright said.

“We’d like people to continue the good work by following 5 simple food safety tips.”

1. CLEAN – wash hands with soap and running water before handling food and between handling raw foods and ready to eat foods, wash up regularly, especially items which have been used for raw meat and poultry, and keep the kitchen surfaces & fridge clean.

2. CHILL – keep the fridge at 5°C or below, refrigerate any leftovers as soon as they’ve stopped steaming and use within 2-3 days (or within one day for people at higher risk of foodborne illness including pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems) or freeze them immediately.

3. COOK – use a thermometer and cook poultry, sausages, minced or stuffed meat dishes to 75°C in the centre; be aware of the risk of raw or minimally cooked egg dishes or look for the new pasteurised eggs. Follow any cooking instructions on the food packaging. Remember, microwave ovens can cook unevenly. Make sure you follow the recommended stirring and standing times before serving.

4. SEPARATE – prevent cross contamination, especially between raw meat, seafood, fish or poultry and ready to eat foods like cooked meats, desserts and salads.

5. DON’T COOK FOR OTHERS IF YOU HAVE GASTRO or feel unwell – you could make them sick too – so ask someone else to cook or get a takeaway.

“In a post COVID-19 environment, we want to help young people better understand about food safety for both their health and for helping their future employment opportunities.”

“Find out more about food safety and test your knowledge and take the food safety quiz on the Food Safety Information Council website www.foodsafety.asn.au ,” Ms Wright concluded.

The Food Safety Information Council has partnered with educational company First for Training to make online food safety basic training courses affordable and available as well as meeting our long-term aim of getting course material into schools.

First for Training will be making a charitable donation of 10% of course sales to the Food Safety Information Council to help keep our important work going.

Schools and councils can access the First For Training resources via www.highfieldelearning.com.au and by emailing [email protected]

For media enquiries, contact: Lydia Buchtmann, Food Safety Information Council, 0407 626 688

or

Lisa Maher, Senior Communications Officer 4945 0204, 0408 713 243 or Email: [email protected]