Washing your hands and keeping them clean while preparing food is the first step of food safety.
Up to one million Australians become ill every year because of incorrect food handling, storage and preparation – that is why food safety impacts on the way we approach cooking and eating fresh food.
The NSW Food Authority has these four top tips to help you keep your food and your family safe:
- personal hygiene – always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling food
- temperature control – keep foods out of the ‘temperature danger zone’ – where bacteria, a common cause of food poisoning, reproduce quickly. The danger zone is 5–60 degrees Celsius
- cook foods thoroughly – make sure all food, in particular seafood, poultry and meat is cooked thoroughly. Heat kills bacteria.
- prevent cross contamination of food – contamination between raw meats and ready-to-eat foods like salad items can spread bacteria. Always separate these foods in the fridge and ensure meat will not drip onto or touch other goods. Keep chopping boards, plates and utensils for raw meat separate.
Use the following table as a guide to product shelf-life for your food. The CSIRO recommends the foods listed below are stored in the coldest part of your fridge. The temperature in a frost-free refrigerator is fairly even. However, in most air refrigerators the coolest part of the refrigerator is near the coils.
||Expected shelf-life in the home after purchase
|Cottage, ricotta, cream cheeses