Some food poisoning myths busted

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Raw eggs and seafood are some of the most common causes of food poisoning. Picture: Anita McInnes

CONSUMERS in Western Australia are urged not to become one of the many people who get food poisoning in Australia each year.

Department of Health food unit manager Stan Goodchild said there are many myths about food poisoning so this year the focus of Australian Food Safety Week was to bust some of these myths.

Mr Goodchild said for example if you got food poisoning it may not have been the last thing you ate.

Sometimes symptoms can take several days or weeks to appear.

“Did you know that the often quoted ‘five second rule’ (that you can pick up food dropped on the floor and eat it if it has been there less than five seconds) just isn’t true?” he said.

Bacteria don’t keep a stopwatch and wait before contaminating the food.

“Finally, did you know that food poisoning isn’t a mild illness?

“Each year an estimated 1 million Australians have to visit a doctor with food poisoning, 32,000 people end up in hospital and 86 people die.”

Consumers can reduce risks by following some simple tips.

Wash hands with running water and soap then dry hands thoroughly before starting to cook and after handling raw meat or chicken.

Transport your chilled or frozen food home from the shops in a cooler bag or esky.

Use a fridge thermometer to make sure your fridge is running at or below 5ºC.

Refrigerate leftovers promptly.

Cooked food should be stored in covered containers and either put in the fridge to cool, or frozen immediately.

Frozen foods should be defrosted in the fridge or microwave not on the kitchen bench. Cook chicken, minced or boned meats, hamburger, stuffed meats and sausages right through until they reach 75°C using a meat thermometer.

Serve hot food steaming hot above 60ºC.

Always follow cooking instructions on packaged foods.

Food should be stored in covered containers in the fridge and put raw meats and poultry in the bottom of the fridge so the juices don’t contaminate food on lower shelves.

Don’t put cooked meat back on the plate the raw meat was on.

Tips, information, interactive games and common food myths on food safety can be found on the HealthyWA website www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/foodsafety

“We also encourage everyone to take the Food Safety Quiz at www.foodsafety.asn.au  and test their knowledge about the safest action to protect you and your family.”