Cook up a storm, not a disaster: Here’s how to use the right temperature to avoid food poisoning.

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If you’re planning to experiment with a bold new meat recipe or are cooking for a pregnant friend, an older relative or a very young child this Christmas, then heed this warning from the Food Safety Information Council (FSIC): use a meat thermometer and avoid poisoning your guests.

Although the caution might sound extreme, especially if you’re an experienced cook, the FSIC warns that there’s an increased risk of food poisoning incidents when the temperature climbs in summer.

FSIC’s council chairperson, Rachelle Williams, explains that most Australian home cooks are still measuring the temperature of their meat just by looking at their dish. Despite all the cooking skill in the world, this method is nowhere near fool-proof.

“We know from our latest research that only 25 per cent of Australian households own a meat thermometer and even fewer report using one in the previous month,” says Williams.

“You can’t tell if riskier foods like the Christmas turkey or rolled roasts are cooked to 75°C just by looking, you really need a meat thermometer.

“If you already have a meat thermometer, rummage through that kitchen drawer and start to use it. If you don’t have one why not pick one up from your local home ware shop or hardware store while you are out Christmas shopping. Thermometers don’t have to be expensive with some costing under $20 so they can make great presents too.”

FSIC estimates suggest over four million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year, resulting in 31,920 hospitalisations, 86 deaths and one million visits to doctors. This year, the FSIC has focused on increasing awareness of two escalating foodborne illnesses: Campylobacter and Salmonella infection. Both health concerns are more prevalent the warmer months, as there is a heightened risk of people eating food that has been sitting at dangerous temperatures, allowing bacteria to grow and causing illness.

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Watch out for Salmonella poisoning as temps rise

Egg food safetyNSW Health is warning people to be wary of Salmonella poisoning as summer temperatures rise, with 201 cases already reported across the state in November 2017.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases NSW Health, said careful preparation and storage of food is the best defence against salmonellosis – a type of gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella bacteria found in animals.

“Products containing undercooked eggs, and the spread of germs in the kitchen, are the most common source of salmonellosis outbreaks in NSW,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“Salmonellosis can be quite severe and people sometimes have to be hospitalised to manage dehydration, particularly in young babies, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems.”

Salmonellosis symptoms include fever, headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually start around six to 72 hours after the contaminated food is eaten and usually last for four to seven days, but can continue for much longer.

Altogether 1391 salmonellosis cases were reported in NSW last summer.

“It is important that people do not prepare food for others while they are unwell with salmonellosis and, as a precaution, for 48 hours after symptoms have passed.”

NSW Food Authority CEO Dr Lisa Szabo said to reduce the risk of Salmonella poisoning, consumers and food retailers can use commercially produced products instead of handmade mayonnaise and sauces when preparing food.

“It is also much safer to use commercially pasteurised eggs rather than raw eggs in ready-to-eat products such as desserts and dressings,” Dr Szabo said.

“Businesses in NSW must comply with strict requirements around the use of raw eggs in foods. Retailers should remember that food laws in NSW prohibit the sale of eggs with dirty or cracked shells, which increase the risk of contamination, and should reject any eggs that are not intact.

“While preparing and handling food, keep benches and utensils clean and dry and do not allow cross contamination of raw and cooked products.”

Dr Sheppeard said food must be cooked thoroughly to kill Salmonella and food should not be left out in the heat. The longer food is left at room temperature the more the Salmonella bacteria will multiply. Refrigerated food should be kept at less than five degrees Celsius and hot foods should be kept above 60 degrees Celsius.

“Most people recover from salmonellosis by resting and drinking fluids but antibiotics are required in complicated cases,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“Salmonellosis can take the joy out of the festive season but just a few simple precautions with the preparation and storage of food can make all the difference.”

For further information, see the Salmonellosis fact sheet on the NSW Health website.

Watch out for Salmonella poisoning as temperatures rise

With sizzling temperatures soaring into the 40’s in NSW this week, NSW Health is warning people to be wary of Salmonella poisoning.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases NSW Health advises “Products containing undercooked eggs, and the spread of germs in the kitchen, are the most common source of salmonellosis outbreaks in NSW,”.

Salmonellosis is a type of gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella bacteria found in animals.

Careful preparation and storage of food is the best defence against salmonellosis, Dr Sheppeard said.   Food must be cooked thoroughly to kill Salmonella and food should not be left out in the heat. The longer food is left at room temperature the more the Salmonella bacteria will multiply. Refrigerated food should be kept at less than five degrees Celsius and hot foods should be kept above 60 degrees Celsius.

NSW Food Authority CEO Dr Lisa Szabo said to reduce the risk of Salmonella poisoning, consumers and food retailers can use commercially produced products instead of handmade mayonnaise and sauces when preparing food.

“It is also much safer to use commercially pasteurised eggs rather than raw eggs in ready-to-eat products such as desserts and dressings,” Dr Szabo said.

“Businesses in NSW must comply with strict requirements around the use of raw eggs in foods. Retailers should remember that food laws in NSW prohibit the sale of eggs with dirty or cracked shells, which increase the risk of contamination, and should reject any eggs that are not intact.

“While preparing and handling food, keep benches and utensils clean and dry and do not allow cross contamination of raw and cooked products.”

Salmonellosis symptoms include fever, headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually start around six to 72 hours after the contaminated food is eaten and usually last for four to seven days, but can continue for much longer.

“Most people recover from salmonellosis by resting and drinking fluids but antibiotics are required in complicated cases,” Dr Sheppeard said.

For further information, see the Salmonellosis fact sheet on the NSW Health website.

How Australians will eat this Christmas

Here are a snippet of the results of a survey conducted by Woolworths into how Australians plan on eating this Christmas –

  • Australians will eat Christmas dinner with an average of eight people and will be sharing the cooking among all guests
  • almost two-thirds of Australia’s will share food preparation tasks with close to half saying family and friends will be supplying the drinks.
  • One in three Christmas hosts will be leaving it up to their guests to bring the snacks.
  • “ham will continue to take the top spot as their main meat feature on the Christmas table, along with turkey, while prawns will be the people’s seafood of choice and Christmas pudding will be the main showcase when it comes to dessert time”, claims Woolworths Director of Buying and Merchandising, Steve Donohue

If you’re interested to see more Woolworths Christmas statistics click the link –

http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2017/11/29/how-australians-will-be-eating-this-christmas.html