Foodsafe Week 2007 gets underway
"Tis the season…”
As National Foodsafe Week 2007 gets underway (November 12-19), the Foodsafe Partnership is reminding families that warmer temperatures mean bacteria on food can double in numbers in minutes.
"Luckily, a few simple rules can make or keep food safe, and protect you and your family and friends from spreading bad bugs from hands or kitchen equipment back to food that's ready to eat," says Gary Bowering, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority's Foodsafe Partnership representative.
"With warmer days already here Kiwis should remember the golden rules of food safety.
"As summer approaches our thoughts turn to entertaining friends, picnics and barbeques. It's all too easy to focus on fun and push any thoughts of foodborne illness to the back of our minds, but there's no better way to spoil a good bash than to spend two or three days afterwards suffering from a stomach upset.
"Pathogens (bacteria, parasites and viruses that cause illness) are just like people and love nothing better than warm temperatures. Add a nutritious moist environment such as food and, with the passage of time, they can multiply really quickly."
Following the 4Cs Clean, Cook, Cover, Chill and the 20+20 hand wash rule (20 seconds wash plus 20 seconds dry = clean hands) are among the most effective ways to ensure we keep our food safe, and stay healthy. When you're preparing food remember:
- clean your hands by washing them with soap and drying with a clean towel
- always wash your hands before handling any food and after touching raw meat and poultry, going to the toilet, changing nappies, touching pets and gardening
- wash knives and other utensils and scrub chopping boards between preparing raw and cooked food
- keep your fridge clean
- thoroughly defrost frozen foods before cooking
- pre-cook minced meat, sausages and poultry before barbecuing
- minced meat and sausages should be cooked right through, and pork and poultry juices should run clear - use a meat thermometer to check temperatures
- put leftovers in the fridge as soon as they're cool
- reheat leftovers until steaming hot throughout and do not reheat more than once
- do not put cooked meat back on the same plate that held raw meat.
- always cover stored food - even in the fridge or cupboard
- keep raw meat and poultry covered in the bottom of the fridge and away from ready-to-eat food, fruit and vegetables to avoid dripping juices
- when cooking or eating outdoors ensure that all food remains covered and cool until ready to cook or eat
- remember - the only time your food should be uncovered is when you're eating it!
- bacteria that cause foodborne illness thrive at room temperature - keep food very cold or very hot
- ensure your fridge is operating at a temperature of between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius
- keep all perishable foods in the fridge until you are ready to use them
- a chilly bin is a good way of keeping chilled and frozen products cold when taking them home from the supermarket
- while picnicking, keep food cool by using a frozen chilly pad or drink bottle
- defrost frozen foods in the fridge
- marinate food in the fridge, not on the bench.
Events publicising Foodsafe Week will be running at venues around the country from November 12-19. Check with your local public health unit for more information. Look out too for our TV advertising campaign featuring our mascot Foodsafe Freddie.
NZFSA has interesting facts about the different types of foodborne illnesses in its 'Meet the Bugs' brochure, available on its website: http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/consumers/food-safety-topics/foodborne-illnesses/meet-the-bugs/index.htm