Photo: Central West Health Senior Dietitian Kate Rose has some simple tips you can follow for keeping food
safe over the festive season.

“Here in the Central West,
we’ve had 15 notifications of Campylobacter
and 19 of
Salmonella so far this year.

Christmas, hot weather and upset tummies don’t have to go together if Central West residents
follow a few simple food safety tips this festive season.

“During the festive period the weather is hot, the fridge is overloaded and we’re usually cooking
for large groups of people,” Central West Hospital and Health Service Senior Dietitian Kate
Rose said.

“All of these factors can conspire to provide perfect conditions for food poisoning bacteria to
multiply in our food and result in stomach upsets, vomiting and diarrhoea,’’ she said.

Ms Rose said each year in Australia about 32,000 people were admitted to hospital with
food poisoning and sadly, about 80 people died.

‘‘There are many types of bugs that can cause food poisoning. The two most common are
Campylobacter and Salmonella,’’ she said.

“Here in the Central West, we’ve had 15 notifications of Campylobacter and 19 of
Salmonella so far this year.

“But food poisoning can be avoided at any time of year, not just during the festive season,
if all Central West residents adopt good food safety habits.

“For instance, poultry, rolled and stuffed roasts, sausages and mince dishes should be cooked
fully and only steaks, chops and solid pieces of meat can be eaten rare.

“Hams will keep for several days with proper handling by removing them from plastic wraps,
covering with clean cloth to stop them drying out and by following instructions on the packaging.

“If you are cooking a turkey, ensure it is fully defrosted in the fridge – not on the kitchen bench –
before cooking and the bird is cooked through before eating.

“And make sure your raw Christmas food is stored correctly at the bottom of your fridge so that
its juices can’t drip on to ready to eat food like salads or desserts.

“Finally, once the eating is over, the best way to ensure your leftovers are safe is to refrigerate
them immediately after a meal or when food has stopped steaming.

“Then, before eating them, always ensure leftovers are heated to at least 70°C for at least two
minutes and are steaming all the way through.”
Ms Rose said raw foods could become contaminated in many ways.

“These include from the soil, compost or irrigation water used on crops, food handlers’
unclean hands, unclean kitchen equipment and even cross-contamination from other
food,’’ she said.

‘‘But cooking food thoroughly usually kills bacteria and viruses and this is why eating some raw
foods puts people at a greater risk of food poisoning.

“Foods that are normally eaten raw, such as fruit and salad vegetables should be washed under
running water and then dried with a paper towel just before you eat.

“By following food safety advice you can dramatically reduce the risk of any form of food poisoning.’’
Ms Rose said seven top ways to reduce your raw-food risk generally were:

1. Never use cracked or dirty eggs

2. Prepare raw or lightly cooked egg dishes such as mayonnaise, aioli, custard and tiramisu

as close as possible to consuming and refrigerate below 5°C. Dispose of any left-over
food after 24 hours.

3. Don’t wash eggs or raw meats as this spreads bacteria around your kitchen

4. Don’t consume unpasteurised milk or raw apricot kernels – they are unsafe to eat

5. Store raw meats and seafood on the bottom shelf of your fridge so they don’t drip onto
ready-to-eat foods

6. Use separate chopping boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods

7. Refrigerate all cut fruits and vegetables

• Looking to brush up on your raw and risk food knowledge? Take the Raw and
Risky Food Safety Quiz at:

• To learn more about food safety in Queensland and how you can protect your
family’s health visit: