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!




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.

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

NSW sick eggs decline

NSW cases of salmonella relating to raw eggs might be on the decline but what about the rest of Australia?  Did you know that Australia has one of the highest rates of Salmonellosis (human illness) in the world.

Research by the NSW Food Authority shows that Salmonella Typhimurium has been the dominant subtype of Salmonella poisoning across Australia, typically accounting for over half of all salmonellosis cases up to 2014.  Commonly found on farms and linked to many raw egg outbreaks Salmonella Typhimurium cases appear to be on the decline with a higher decrease in salmonella cases than other states.  However the overall number of salmonella cases is still trending up.  The is recent data from NSW Health.

There are several factors which have likely contributed to such a large decline in NSW. These include:
• A commitment and a focus from all industry sectors and NSW DPI Biosecurity and Food Safety to work together to see a reduction in salmonellosis cases
• Development of the NSW Food Authority Food Safety Guidelines for the Preparation of Raw Egg Products
• Adopting a tough approach on raw egg products
• Training for local government EHOs in raw egg guidelines and enforcement, and
• Revamped Food Safety Supervisor modules focussing on raw egg products and cleaning and sanitising.

While this is positive news regarding S. Typhimurium, unfortunately other types of  salmonella are still on the increase. NSW has a target to reduce foodborne illness by 30% by the year 2021.

Perhaps the rest of the country can jump on board and develop initiatives, like NSW Food Authority have, including a requirement for Food Safety Supervisor modules to focus on raw egg products and for these modules to be refreshed every 5 years.

Do you need to refresh your training? visit for more info.

To read the full article visit –




Bad Bugs In Winter Food

Today marks the start of winter and Australians are being warned about the risks of food poisoning from winter foods like casseroles and soups.

Chair of the Food Safety Council, Rachelle Williams, said “although many people associate food poisoning with hot weather, Australians need to be wary of the dangers in cooking big winter meals like casseroles.”

“Cooking in bulk is cost effective, saves time and reduces food waste,” Williams said.

“However, we need to be extra careful handling these large amounts of food because, if they are left to cool slowly, bacteria can grow and produce dangerous toxins that won’t be destroyed by further cooking,” she said.

The Food Safety Council suggests dividing hot food into smaller portions and to refrigerate or freeze the food as soon as it stops steaming.

“Refrigerated leftovers should be used or frozen within 2 to 3 days,” says Williams.

“They will keep several months in the freezer. When reheating food ensure that it is hot all the way through, follow any microwave instructions to stir it or leave it to stand and use a thermometer to ensure it is at least 75°C in the centre,” she said.

The Council has also warned Australians using slow cookers to always follow instructions and make sure food is held at 60°C or above.

To minimize the risks of serving food poisoning to your customers you should ensure your food safety training is up to date.  Visit to enrol for your training.


image source: Google

‘Tis the Season To… not get food poisoning!

An estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning occur every year in Australia! As the summer temperatures rise so to do the risks of obtaining food poisoning. It is important to ensure food is prepared using appropriate procedures, refrigerated at cold enough temperatures and cooked correctly.

Following is an article SBS Food Editor, Charmaine Yabsley, giving some tips on how best to protect yourself, your friends and family against a viscous attack of food poisoning this summer!


Ten Surprisingly High Risk Healthy Foods That Could Make You Sick!

When you think of food poisoning, you think of chicken, beef, seafood, right? However, studies are showing that the top riskiest foods involve popular “healthy” foods. Over 40% of all food borne illnesses outbreaks are caused by foods that we normally think of as good for you. Everything on your grocery list – even the most innocuous food – must be shopped for and handled with care.

1- Leafy greens

Leafy greens like lettuce may not be properly clean i.e pre-washed salad mixes, harboring harmful germs. A truck not cold enough (in other words, the refrigerator on the truck may not be at 41°F, 5°C, during the entire trip from processor to the store) to transport salads is a truck where germs could start to grow. Since salads aren’t cooked, you could ingest germs just by opening the package and eating. This is not to scare you away from salad; it’s to let you know that it isn’t foolproof.

So how do you make sure it’s safe? Continue reading

Foodborne Illness Dangers for Vulnerable Populations

The FDA has released a report about how foodborne illness is especially dangerous for vulnerable and high risk populations. That includes the very young who are under 1 year of age, older adults, immune-compromised individuals, and pregnant women. Those groups are especially vulnerable to Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. People in those groups accounted for at least 90% of Listeria cases. That illness has a 21% fatality rate.

These groups are more at risk for serious complications and death from these infections because of their weaker immune systems. As we age, our immune system starts to wane. The amount of acid in the stomach, which can kill bacteria, declines. And side effects from treatments for other illnesses, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can weaken the immune system. Children have weaker immune systems because they are still developing. And the immune system of pregnant women is altered to enable the mother to co-exist with the fetus. The body has to work to avoid rejecting the fetus because half of its genes are not the same as the mother’s.

The report states that prevention of foodborne illness is key. The FDA is putting new measures in place as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act to stop contamination of food during the entire food chain, from growth to harvest to processing, manufacturing, and transporting.

But consumers need to pay attention to food safety rules too. Avoid eating raw animal products, which include raw milk and cheeses made from it, undercooked eggs, and raw and undercooked meat and fish dishes. Always wash produce under running water before preparation. Make sure counters and utensils are cleaned and sterilized and avoid cross-contamination. Avoid hot dogs and deli-style meats unless they are reheated to a safe temperature, and avoid deli salads such as chicken or seafood salad. Keep your fridge at 40 degrees F or lower, and your freezer at 0 degrees F or lower. And if you eat at a restaurant, ask about the food you’re ordering; make sure it’s properly cooked, and doesn’t include risky or raw ingredients.


Increased food safety compliance by food outlets


The chance of getting food poisoning is on the decline with the level of food safety standards increasing across NSW, Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said.

Ms Hodgkinson said the 2011-2012 Local Government Activity Report found compliance rates have lifted to 94.5 per cent in 12 months which means consumers are better protected from foodborne illnesses.

“Councils’ inspections and support for food businesses are contributing factors to these strong compliance rates,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The NSW Government’s Food Safety Supervisors initiative, which started a year ago, has seen 47,194 people trained to help improve food handler skills and knowledge in the retail food sector.

“Councils across NSW undertook 59,974 inspections of the 39,411 retail food businesses which require an annual inspection.

“Between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2012 there were fewer tough enforcement actions, such as penalties, seizures and prosecutions, for serious non-compliance compared with the previous four years.

“The results of this enforcement hierarchy also highlighted that intervention and business support are effective means of encouraging compliance,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

Ms Hodgkinson said the report showed that the number of consumer food complaints reported to councils were on par with last year’s results.

“Councils have been active and in the space of 12 months reviewed 4,344 food complaints from consumers and investigated 96.6 per cent of these complaints in addition to undertaking regular inspections,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to ensuring the safety of the community.

“While food safety inspections have been effective, the ‘Name and Shame’ initiative has also been a good deterrent for most businesses,” Ms Hodgkinson said.


Common Food Safety Myths


Urban myths surrounding food safety have persisted for years, despite being plainly untrue. In order to separate fact from fiction, here are eight of the most common myths still in circulation.

Myth 1: You can always smell or taste when food is ‘off’

This is not true. Although food that has spoiled often smells or tastes bad, not all bacteria are detectable to the human senses. Bacteria can contaminate food without you knowing it.

Myth 2: Hand sanitiser is as effective as hand washing

This is only partially true. Hand washing removes some bacteria as does sanitiser. However, when hands are soiled, it is best to use both methods; washing with liquid soap and drying with paper towels is most effective.

Myth 3: Food can be safely defrosted on the bench

This is not true. The Danger Zone for bacterial contamination is between 5ºC and 60ºC and room temperature falls within that range. The safest way to defrost food is in the refrigerator or, if needed quickly, in the microwave.

Myth 4: Mouldy food is okay to eat, if you remove the mould

No it isn’t. While some cheeses use mould in their manufacture; when mould appears on other types of food, it means that food is contaminated. Immature mould spores are invisible to the naked eye and are likely to be present in the rest of the food.

Myth 5: The 3, 5 or 10 Second Rule

Despite being the most common myth, there is no truth to it. It should be remembered instead as the Zero Second Rule, because it takes less than a second for food to become contaminated when dropped. The moment it touches the floor bacteria swarm all over it, so it should not be consumed.

Myth 6: There’s no need to wash produce if peeling it

This is untrue. The chemicals and contaminants present on fruit and vegetables can be transferred onto the internal layer during the peeling process, so produce should always be washed before and after peeling.

Myth 7: Chicken is safe to eat if it is pink

Regardless of colour, chicken must be cooked to an internal temperature of 75ºC to kill bacteria. Using a meat thermometer is always the safest way to determine whether chicken has been satisfactorily cooked.

Myth 8: Meat and poultry should be washed before cooking

Washing meat does not remove the risk of food borne illness and can cause cross-contamination instead. When rinsing meat and poultry, the blood juices and pathogens are washed into the sink, infecting the sink and often the surrounding food preparation area. Rather than washing meat and poultry, it is best to allow the cooking process to kill any bacteria present in fresh meat and poultry.