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Family feasts

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Holidays and parties are great occasions to catch up with family and friends, but there’s one unwelcome guest you don’t want stopping by - food poisoning.

Entertaining and cooking for more people than normal can increase the risk from food poisoning.  

The average home kitchen isn’t designed for large volume cooking, so good food safety practices can be more challenging.

Entertaining safely

Following some simple food safety tips can dramatically reduce the risk of foodborne illness at family feasts. 

Plan your meals

  • don't prepare foods too far in advance of serving and eating 
  • ensure you have plenty of fridge and freezer space
  • keep cold foods, such as salads, in the fridge until ready to serve.

Temperature control

Bacteria that cause food poisoning grow rapidly between 5oC and 60oC.

  • make sure food is cooked thoroughly before serving. Cook poultry, minced meats, and sausages until well done, right through to the centre. No pink should be visible and juices should run clear
  • keep cold food in the fridge until you are ready to cook or serve
  • serve hot food steaming hot, at least 60oC
  • refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours
  • reheat leftovers to at least 75oC, until they're steaming hot
  • don't eat food that's meant to be in the fridge if it's been left out for 4 hours or more.

Prevent cross contamination

  • wash and dry hands thoroughly before starting to prepare any food
  • avoid making food for others if sick with something like diarrhoea
  • defrost and marinate foods in the fridge, especially meats
  • don't let raw meat juices dry onto other foods
  • separate raw and cooked food and use different cutting boards and knives for both
  • keep benches, kitchen equipment and tableware clean and dry
  • don't overload fridges, which reduces cooling efficiency
  • keep refrigerated leftovers for no more than 3 days.


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