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 http://www.cft.com.au to enrol for your training.

 

image source: Google

Allergen labelling a life and death matter – reminder to food businesses

(The following article has been reproduced with permission of Food Standards Australia New Zealand).

Yesterday Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) announced a month-long campaign aimed at reminding food businesses about the need to get allergen labelling right.  

FSANZ Acting Chief Executive Officer Peter May said the campaign was timed to coincide with Australia’s Food Allergy Week (May 14‒20). 

“Food businesses in Australia and New Zealand need to be across the mandatory allergen labelling requirements in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code,” Mr May said. 

“Correct allergen labelling can mean the difference between life and death for people with food allergies so it is vital that food businesses meet labelling requirements.  

“There are currently nine foods which must be declared whenever they are present as ingredients or as components of food additives or processing aids. Lupins are expected to be added to the list this month. 

“If the food is not in a package or is not required to have a label (for example, food prepared at and sold from a takeaway shop), this information must either be displayed in connection with the food or provided to the purchaser if requested.” 

Mr May said FSANZ would be running a social media and media outreach campaign for one month to educate food businesses about the importance of allergen labelling.  

“FSANZ supports the important work of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia and its New Zealand counterpart —Allergy New Zealand—in raising awareness about food allergies. Both these organisations also provide important input to allergen-related work undertaken by FSANZ.” 

More information  

Read about Food Allergy Week 

Information about allergen labelling  

Video – FSANZ CEO Mark Booth talks about mandatory allergen labelling 

Chefs with International Qualifications

FAQ – If I have an overseas qualification as a chef, am I able to work as a Food Safety Supervisor in Australia?

Staff at CFT International are often asked this question.   Your employer may accept your international qualifications as a chef. However, you cannot be the food safety supervisor for the business unless you have a Statement of Attainment from an RTO in Australia for the food sector in which you are working or intend to work.

International chefs can obtain a Statement of Attainment from CFT International.  CFT International is an RTO offering training for Food Safety Supervisors online, in class and by correspondence.  To find out more visit our website http://www.cft.com.au.

Salmonella outbreak in Canberra closes two cafes

An outbreak of salmonella has forced two popular Canberra cafes to close their doors while they were investigated by health inspectors.

In a statement, HPS said health inspectors had uncovered problems “related with food handling processes and procedures” at both stores.

“The cafes will be closed until such time as the identified issues have been rectified,” the statement said.

The closure of the cafes for ‘serious food safety breaches’ and “risk to public health” is a scary reminder of the extreme importance of ensuring all food handlers are properly trained and aware of best safe food handling practises.
Click the link to read the articles about the closure of two cafes in Canberra.  If you haven’t updated your Food Safety Training don’t leave it too late!

Are we sending our kids to school with lunch boxes crammed with sugar?

It’s back to school this week! … are parents sending their kids along with lunch boxes filled with sugar?

Channel 9 News reported that many children will return to school with lunch boxes crammed with snacks containing up to 12 teaspoons of sugar! for tips and ideas on how to beat the sugary lunch box, click the link below to see the full report –

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/school-lunchboxes-filled-with-sugar/vp-AAmoSYe

Seafood safety tips for the festive season

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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.

Prawns:

  • 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 CFT.com.au

 

–  www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/

7 Million hits on Name & Shame registe

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The popular Name and Shame register which publicly names businesses that fail to meet food safety standards has received more than 7 million hits online, NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said.”This sends a clear message to food businesses that consumers expect high standards and are scanning the list of restaurants and other food outlets before deciding where to dine out,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“A penalty notice on the register not only acts as a potential deterrent to would be diners it also serves as a deterrent to food businesses against making food safety breaches.”

There were almost 1.25 million views on the Name and Shame register in 2012 alone and more than 7.1 million since the register was established in 2008.

The most common food safety breaches under the Food Act 2003 are;

  • Cleaning and sanitation (35%)
  • Temperature control (13%)
  • Pest control – infestations, droppings (13%)
  • Hand washing offences (13%)
  • Protection from contamination – storage, personal hygiene (11%)

“The number of food businesses appearing on the register has almost halved in 3 years which shows the campaign is having the desired effect with more food outlets adhering to the rules,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

In 2011-12, 785 food businesses appeared on the Name and Shame register (1337 penalty notices) compared to 1309 food businesses in 2009-2010 (2329 penalty notices).

“This is a timely reminder to all food businesses across NSW to comply with food safety laws to stay off the Name and Shame register,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

To view the Name and Shame register visit: www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/penalty-notices

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.