Top Food Safety Tips

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There are many myths and misconceptions about food safety. That's why the Food Safety Information Council has initiated Australian Food Safety Week ? to teach us the truth about food poisoning and how to reduce our risk.

Here are some top food safety tips recommended by the Council:

Cleaning

Hygiene is everything. So we should always wash our hands before preparing, cooking, and eating food. The 20/20 rule is easy to follow ? wash with warm soapy water for 20 seconds and dry your hands for 20 seconds.

Repeat this each time you touch raw meat, veggies, and other items. Also be sure to keep all utensils, chopping boards, and other cooking tools washed and dried.

Cooling

Cold and frozen food has to be kept that way to reduce the risk of food poisoning, which hospitalizes 30,000 people a year in Australia ? and sends 1 million to the GP.

Carry cold foods home in a cooler bag, so it never has the chance to warm up. Once it?s in the fridge, food should be chilled to at or below 5 degrees C.

Be sure to pop leftovers in the fridge as soon as possible; don?t leave them on the bench to cool. Another tip is to defrost frozen food in the fridge and not in the room.

Cooking

Proper cooking is also key to staying healthy and avoiding illness. Be sure to cook meats to 75 degrees C; you can use a meat thermometer to check this.

And remember to always defrost frozen chicken and meat products before popping them in the oven or on the stove top.

Storing

Storing food correctly is another way to ward off food poisoning. Always cover food in separate containers, to avoid contamination.

Keep meats on the bottom shelf of the fridge, so juices can't drip into other items.

It might sound like a lot to do, but these actions will quickly become habit. And good food safety habits are essential to keeping you and your family healthy.

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