Departmental (media releases)
21 December 2015
It’s the time for giving but the NSW Food Authority is urging people not to give loved ones food poisoning this festive season.
NSW Food Authority CEO Dr Lisa Szabo said preparing the traditional festive feast can bring its own set of frustrations, but there are a few easy tips to follow to ensure you serve up safe and healthy food this Christmas.
"This time of year people are often hosting meals for larger numbers than they are used to, and cooking foods they’re not familiar with," she said.
"The turkey is good example, it’s quite a specialty product in Australia and very few of us would be accustomed to roasting a whole bird of this size.
"An inexperienced person preparing and cooking poultry can be a recipe for disaster.
"One way to stay off the naughty list when it comes to food safety this year is to check out our summer eating food page, a dedicated section on the NSW Food Authority website that will see you safely through Christmas and the warmer months."
The summer eating section has specific advice on popular Christmas foods like turkey, ham and seafood and information on food safety when you are preparing for larger numbers of people.
The tips include:
- plan ahead - a frozen turkey should never be defrosted on the bench and it can take up to three days to defrost in the fridge, don’t leave it to last minute!
- when it comes to ham, the ‘ham bag’ often sold with Christmas hams are a great way to keep your ham fresh and maintain quality the longest. A clean cotton pillowcase will do the trick too, and remember to regularly wash or change it
- if you’re having a seafood lunch, ensure you only buy from a reputable retailer and take an esky or cooler bag to ensure temperature control
- keep raw and cooked foods separate
- if food has been on table for more than 2 hours, bin it – hot food needs to stay hot and cold food needs to stay cold
- leftovers – refrigerate leftovers and eat or freeze within 3 days
Christmas time, like any other time, it is important to follow the key rules of food safety.
"Those key food safety tips are to keep it cold, keep it hot, keep it clean and check the labels, and above all always observe good hygiene, begin by thoroughly washing your hands," Dr Szabo said.
"Food poisoning is an unpleasant and serious illness that effects up to 4.1 million Australians every year.
"Authorities traditionally see a spike in food poisoning rates during the warmer months as the hotter weather creates an ideal environment for bacteria such as Salmonella to grow.
"Follow the NSW Food Authority’s food safety advice and make sure your Christmas is a happy and healthy one."
For safe summer eating advice, head to www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/fp/summer-eating