The messages for Food Safety Week this year are aimed at young people leaving home. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, said research consistently showed that young people, especially young men, had the worst knowledge of safe food handling.
“It?s great to leave home and have that independence but it?s no fun to be among the estimated 5.4 million cases of food poisoning each year,” Mr Pyne said.
“The Food Safety Information Council has put together some simple, practical tips for young people to use whether they are leaving home to go to university, to travel or to join the workforce.
“Firstly, your fridge isn?t just for storing drinks in – it can stop food poisoning bacteria growing in your food. Check that your fridge is running at 5?C or below and don?t let raw meat and chicken drip onto foods like salads and desserts that you won?t cook again.
“Don?t leave the pizza on the benchtop overnight. Divide leftovers into small containers and refrigerate them once they have stopped steaming. Don?t forget to label them with the date. Throw leftovers out after two days.
“Always store and cook food according to the instructions on the label of packaged food and discard after the ‘use by’ date. Remember to cook chicken and minced meat such as sausages and hamburger until there is no pink left at the centre. Don?t put cooked meat or chicken back on the plate you used for the raw meat.
“The best source of bacteria is your hands – so always wash them with soap and running water and dry thoroughly on a clean towel before handling food. While you and your housemates may not enjoy housework, keep the kitchen clean and wash dishes and utensils in hot soapy water. The good news is that you don?t have to wipe up the dishes as leaving them to dry in the air is safest.
“Finally, a message for parents. Make sure your children learn about food safety from an early age and you might want to give them a fridge thermometer, available from your local kitchen shop, when they do fly the nest,” Mr Pyne said.