What are the major risks with food around Christmas time?
- Over stocking of fridge’s full off food which means that the fridge is under strain and the food is not able to be cooled effectively. This leads to food illness causing organisms reproduce at a faster rate that can make the food potentially dangerous to eat.
- Leaving left over food at room temperature for greater than 2 hours increases the risk of food to be impacted by food illness causing organisms.
- Under preparation and cooking of meat and poultry can lead to food illness causing organisms to not be killed off properly leaving the opportunity for the bacteria to grow to levels that can make people potentially ill.
What should people know about cooking meat.
Cook your meat and poultry to a safe temperature. You can protect your guests by using a digital thermometer and cook your foods safely to these temperatures measured in the centre of the food.
- All poultry including turkey (whole cuts, roast or mince) should be cooked to at least 75°C.
- Beef, lamb, kangaroo in whole cuts like chops, steaks, pieces and roasts at least 63°C (medium rare) and leave to rest 3 to 5 minutes.
- Pork whole cuts and pieces to 70°C and roasts to between 70°C and 75°C and leave to rest 3 to 5 minutes.
- Beef, lamb, kangaroo, or pork that have been made into sausages, hamburgers or mince as well as rolled roasts, liver and other offal 75°C
- Fish fillets should be cooked to around 63°C or when flesh flakes easily
Eggs and egg dishes such as quiche, can also be a food safety risk and should be cooked to 72°C in the centre (or until the white is firm and the yolk thickens). Raw eggs in eggnog and health shakes, raw egg mayonnaise and aioli, or fancy desserts made with raw eggs like tiramisu are a real risk for food poisoning according to the food Safety Information Council.
What are three of the best tips you can give to food preppers!
- Make sure you clean your hands before handling / starting food preparation
- Make sure the surface you are prepping on is clean
- Make sure you don’t cross contaminate raw and cooked foods.
What signs should we look for to tell if food is not safe?
- Food is warmer than it should be greater than 5 degrees Celsius (refrigerated food)
- Food is colder than it should be less than 60 degrees Celsius (cooked food)
- Food is not covered allowing flies on the food
- Raw food is dripping over cooked food or food to be eaten straight away
Who should worry about food safety?
Everyone – we all eat and poorly stored, handled, prepared and cooked food can make us ill.
It is everyone’s business to make sure that food is safely stored, cooked or cooled before eating.
If we all keep this in mind, we will go a long way towards having a very happy and food safe festive season.