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.

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Australians clueless about safe cooking temperatures – Use a thermometer for great food, cooked safely every time (10 November 2017)

This article was published by Food Safety Information Council for Food Safety Week, Nov 11-18 2017.

Here’s a brief snapshot –

Despite celebrity cooking shows being all the rage, the Food Safety Information Council released a national survey today for Australian Food Safety Week that shows that the majority of Australians surveyed have no idea of safe cooking temperatures for high-risk foods such as hamburgers, sausages and poultry.

Food Safety Information Council Chair, Rachelle Williams, said that the Council was amazed that 70% of those surveyed reported that they didn’t know the safe cooking temperature for these high-risk foods.

‘Even worse, of those that reported they did know the correct temperature, most were wrong with 15% saying below the safe temperature of 75°C and 9% stating it should be 100°C or more, which would be a pretty burnt piece of food.

Click the link to read more –

http://foodsafety.asn.au/australians-clueless-about-safe-cooking-temperatures-10-november-2017/

 

Gold Coast Restaurant fined for poisoning diner

Top One Chinese Restaurant, at Australia Fair, Southport has been fined $25,000 for failing to comply with food safety laws after toxic chemicals were mistakenly put into a salt shaker.

As a result of the mishap, a diner sustained acid burns in his mouth.

Court documents show Environmental Health officers who attended the restaurant later found the problem – a number of “unlabelled containers” of white substances, including a 10kg tub of caustic soda in a cupboard at the restaurant. Testing the shaker given to them by the customer’s daughter, they found it contained sodium hydroxide.

This is commonly known as caustic soda.

Terry Moore, from the Gold Coast Public Health Unit, said the court action sent a message to the industry.

“Poisons such as a caustic soda should be appropriately labelled and stored safely. Staff must also be trained in the safe use and storage of poisons,” Moore told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

 

Hemp Foods OK for Sale in Australia

The prohibition of ‘superfood’ hemp is over.

On 12 November 2017 the Council of Australian Governments will officially pass legislation to legalise hemp for consumption as a food in Australia.

Hemp has a five-star health rating.  It is recognised as having nutritional benefits and acknowledged as one of only five key natural superfoods.  Hemp also has a complete amino acid profile, including all eight essential amino acids.

Hemp contains THC, the hallucinogenic substance found in marijuana. It has been decided that hemp seeds are low enough in THC that people can’t get high from eating them.

The crop has been grown in Tasmania for use in cosmetics and shampoos since the 1990s. Until now, hemp products have been limited to use in the textiles, building and cosmetics industries.  Some of the food products containing hemp include hemp versions of porridge, muesli, protein powder, oil, chai, tea and oil gel capsules.

Click the following link to read the full article –

http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2017/11/06/hemp-is-soon-to-be-a-legal-food-in-australia.html

 

Aussies wasting nearly $10 billion of food each year

Australians are collectively wasting $9.6 billion on food each year according to new research released by RaboDirect.

In a survey of 2,300 people aged between 16 and 65, the RaboDirect Food & Farming Report shows that Australians are wasting an average of 14 per cent of their weekly grocery buy. In total, this equates to over $1050 each year.

The report reveals the habits which are contributing to food waste in Australia, including never eating food past its ‘best before’ date and not eating leftovers.

Why is food being wasted?

The leading cause of food waste according to 82 per cent of respondents is a product going off and becoming unusable before they can use it.

43 per cent of people stated they buy too much food, making this the second leading cause of food waste in Australia.

The results of the RaboDirect report show that food waste is still an issue in Australia, according to the Head of RaboDirect, Beden Cronin.

“Australians can make a few small changes to everyday habits, such as using leftovers for lunches through the week, which will help reduce food waste,” Cronin said.

Here’s the full article POSTED BY NICHOLAS NAKOS– http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2017/10/30/food-waste-in-australia-totals-nearly-10-billion-each-year-rabodirect-report.html

 

 

GMO Labels Explained

Want to know more about our world of Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO’s and what these labels on food mean? Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld explains in this video –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trE_COT4C9A

Cooling Potentially Hazardous Food

A common contributing factor to food poisoning in a food business is incorrect temperature zone. This is when food is held for too long at temperatures where harmful food poisoning bacteria can grow.

It is important that food businesses make sure cooked potentially hazardous food (PHF) has been cooled in accordance to Food Standards Code:

A food business must cool the food:
• within two hours – from 60°C
to 21°C, and
• within a further four hours –
from 21°C to 5°C.

Do you understand your responsibilities as a food business owner?  Don’t leave your customers and your business at risk!

 

 

NSW Food Authority investigates Sydney Hep A outbreak

NSW Food Authority and NSW Health are investigating a hepatitis A outbreak in the Sydney region.

The investigation comes after 10 people have contracted hepatitis A within the area over the past five weeks. On average, there is only two locally acquired hepatitis A cases each year.

Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said NSW Health and the NSW Food Authority are assessing patterns of food distribution and any links to overseas outbreaks. She said no specific food has yet to be connected to the outbreak.

NSW Health said that when hepatitis A outbreaks occur in Australia they are either linked to the consumption of contaminated food products or person-to-person spread.

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that spreads in contaminated food or through poor hygiene. Symptoms of hepatitis infection may include nausea, vomiting, fever and yellowing of the skin, dark urine and pale stools.

The risk of spreading hepatitis A can be reduced by washing hands thoroughly, particularly after going to the toilet, touching soiled linen or items, changing nappies and before preparing or eating food.

It is extremely vital to ensure that all staff working with food are well informed of their responsibilities when it comes to food hygiene.  Contact CFT for more information or visit CFT here

 

To read the full article posted by ANDREA HOGAN on 6th September 2017, click here

OUTDOOR DINING IS NOW SMOKE-FREE

From 1 August 2017, smoking at Victorian venues will be banned:

  • in outdoor areas at hospitality and food venues used for eating food. This includes footpath dining areas, courtyards and beer gardens during times food is being eaten, or is available to be eaten
  • in all outdoor areas at food fairs. A food fair is an event where the principal activity is the supply of food for consumption at the event
  • within 10 metres of a food stall or food vendor at organised outdoor event (other than a food fair).

To complement smoke-free outdoor dining, smoking is banned in an outdoor drinking area if any part of that area is within 4 metres of an outdoor dining area, unless separated by a wall of at least 2.1 metres high. This means the two areas can be separated by either:

  • a 4 metre buffer zone; or
  • a wall of at least 2.1 metres high.

If the separation requirement is not met, smoking is banned in an outdoor drinking area. This law applies to the same venue as well as to neighbouring venues.

For more information about these reforms and to obtain your “No Smoking” signage, please visit –

https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/tobacco-reform/smoke-free-areas/outdoor-dining

W.A. Food Poisoning Link to Eggs

There has been an “Egg Alert” issued in Western Australia as cases of salmonella food poisoning have surged x4 the usual number. This has been associated with eggs.

The WA Health Department has advised people to avoid eating raw or runny eggs after seeing a surge in salmonella food poisoning that has been associated with eggs.

People are being warned to stay clear of cracked or dirty eggs and to wash and dry hands properly.

Click the link to view the full article –

 

https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/food-poisoning-link-to-eggs-ng-b88500374z

If you work in an area where you are handling food, particularly containing eggs, contact www.cft.com.au to ensure you are fully aware of your responsibilities to ensure food safety.