Seafood safety tips for the festive season


Keep your family safe this festive season by following easy seafood safety tips, NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said today.”It is critical that seafood is transported, stored and handled correctly to avoid food poisoning,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“If food safety is compromised vulnerable groups such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions can be severely affected.

“It is important that anyone purchasing seafood this festive season follows the easy seafood safety tips.”

Shopping tips:

  • Only buy seafood from reputable retailers;
  • Take a cooler bag or esky to the store or fish markets;
  • Put your seafood straight into the fridge or freezer as soon as you get home; and
  • Store different types of seafood (e.g. prawns, oysters, raw fish) separately in air-tight containers so that juices cannot leak onto other foods.


  • Don’t eat strong off-smelling prawns;
  • For whole prawns make sure the head is firmly attached and the shell tight and shiny;
  • Store prawns separately from all other foods in an air-tight container; and
  • Eat prawns within three days of purchase or freeze them for up to 3 months.

Raw fish:

  • Must be fresh and of highest quality;
  • Ensure high standard of hygiene when handling; and
  • Do not eat raw fish that has been left unrefrigerated for more than two hours.


For more information of food safety, please visit your local government website or




The Holiday Season is Norovirus Season


Norovirus, what many people call “stomach flu” is the most common cause of gastroenteritis.

Its peak season coincides with the holiday season, November-January. Each year, many Australians get the stomach bug that causes vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Norovirus is extremely contagious and spreads quickly in crowded places like crowded, closed places such as preschools, daycare centers, nursing homes, schools, hotels, airplanes, and cruise ships. You can get it by touching a contaminated surface, eating or drinking food that is contaminated, or having direct contact with someone who has it. It takes fewer than 20 particles of the virus to make someone sick and the virus can live on hard surfaces for weeks.

People who have norovirus are contagious from the time they become ill until at least three days after their symptoms resolve.  

Diligence to personal hygiene is imperative, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly, sanatise all surfaces you touch, and never prepare food for others.


That’s one reason why about half of all food posioning outbreaks are caused by norovirus.

There isn’t a vaccine or treatment for norovirus. If it comes your way, you’ll be pretty sick for 24-72 hours. Do your best to stay hydrated.  Signs of dehydration include decreased urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up. Dehydrated children may cry with few or no tears or be unusually sleepy or fussy. If you become dehydrated, and can’t keep liquids down, see a health care provider. Severe dehydration can be fatal i.e death.

Eating Nuts Reduces Risk of Major Diseases

A study published earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine states that increased nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The study also found that people who ate nuts every day weighted less.

The nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality was looked at in the Nurses’ Health Study and in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers found that eating a handful of nuts was inversely associated with total mortality in men and women. The results were independent of other predictors for mortality. The nuts included peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts. The amount was 3 tablespoons, eating seven times or more every week.

Specifically, there was an 11% reduction in cancer rates, a 29% reduction in heart disease and a decrease in respiratory diseases. Overall, compared with those who did not eat nuts, those who ate nuts seven or more times per week had a 20% lower death rate. Nuts have an optimal lipid profile (good fats) and a high fiber content, along with high quality protein, vitamins, and phytochemicals such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and phytosterols. These results are consistent with results found in other, smaller studies.