Summer wouldn’t be summer without a barbie or three.
The biggest BBQ food safety boo-boos can be to:
- pour a marinade with raw meat juices over cooked meat. Marinades need to be thoroughly cooked before serving
- splash or drip raw meat juices onto other foods such as salads and onto plates and cutlery
- not cook meats such as sausages and hamburger mince thoroughly. No pink should be seen when the meat is cut, and as with chicken and pork, juices should be clear
- it's best to leave things that should be in the fridge or esky - salads, cut fruit, meats, fresh juices – until just before cooking or serving
- make sure any leftovers are back in cold storage within 2 hours
- see also BBQ safety tips.
Tips for safe storage and preparation include:
- always allow chicken to thaw in the refrigerator, a microwave defrost program or even in cold water in airtight packaging or leak-proof bag; never on the kitchen bench
- keep the juices of a raw or thawing chicken away from all other foods as well as kitchenware
- wash hands and everything else that comes into contact with raw chicken thoroughly
- keep cooked and uncooked chicken in a fridge below 5oC. Don't eat it if it’s been left out of the fridge for 2 hours or longer
- cook the chicken all the way through. There should be no red meat, including around the bone, and juices need to be clear, not pink
- reheat all chicken, including takeaway, until it's steaming hot
- see also poultry and raw meat and turkey tips.
Hot custard over plum pudding, a rich cheesecake, a swirl of cream in coffee can all be delightful.
Quick food safety tips are:
- it’s best to keep everything that features fresh cream in the fridge until just before serving and make sure any leftovers are back in the fridge within 2 hours
- custard needs to be reheated until steaming hot and also put back in the fridge within 2 hours
- once cooked or opened, all custard should be eaten or returned to the fridge within 2 hours and kept no more than 3 days
- other goodies using dairy such as cheesecake and pavlova are best kept in the fridge until serving and then returned to keep cold.
Raw eggs can be found in holiday treats ranging from eggnog to rich mayonnaise, to mousse to power smoothies.
- purchased eggs are clean, not cracked, and have not been stored in sunlight
- all raw egg foods are made fresh daily and stored below 5oC in the fridge
- eggs are eaten by their 'best before' date
- foods with raw or lightly cooked eggs are not suitable for people with low or compromised immune systems, children younger than 2 years, pregnant women or people older than 70 years with certain underlying conditions
- see also enjoying eggs safely and low immunity.
Christmas hams will keep for several weeks with proper handling.
Handy ham hints include:
- store in the fridge in a clean ham bag or cotton pillowcase
- slice off just what’s needed when it’s needed
- store leftovers that have been out of the fridge for less than 2 hours under the skin flap of the remaining joint, back in the fridge in the ham bag or pillowcase, or wrapped in plastic or foil
- see also Christmas hams.
Prawns are still an Aussie summer favourite.
If storing or serving:
- don't eat very strong smelling prawns
- if purchasing whole, heads should be firmly attached and the shell tight and shiny
- store prawns away from other foods in an airtight container. Leave in the shell for as long as possible.
- eat within 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Rockmelons are linked to a type of Salmonella that can cause food poisoning.
To help minimise the risk:
- if a rockmelon is bruised or damaged, don’t buy it
- if it's already cut, ensure it’s wrapped and refrigerated or surrounded by ice
- clean with cool tap water and a produce brush before eating
- use separate cutting boards and knives for preparing rockmelons
- avoid eating cut rockmelon that's been left out of the fridge for 2 hours or more
- see also rockmelons and fresh fruit and vegetables.
The same food safety protection offered to consumers buying commercially harvested shellfish does not extend to people gathering their own.
People collecting their own shellfish need to know:
- pipis should only be purchased from reputable seafood retailers, never collected
- oysters and mussels must be cooked. Cooking in rapidly boiling water for at least 90 seconds should kill bacteria but will not destroy or remove biotoxins that can lead to serious illness, even death
- not to collect shellfish after rain, from water affected by algae blooms or areas closed by NSW Fisheries
- see also Recreational harvest of shellfish.
Vinegar added to rice in traditional sushi recipes helps stop the growth of microorganisms that can cause food poisoning.
It's important though that:
- sushi rice is kept in the fridge until use
- if raw fish is used in the sushi, it needs to be very fresh and of the highest quality, such as sashimi grade tuna. It also needs to be kept in the fridge
- a very high standard of personal and kitchen hygiene is maintained, especially as preparing sushi involves a lot of handling of the food
- sushi is eaten within 2 hours of being taken out of the fridge.
Planning ahead is essential for a top-notch turkey feast.
Some safe turkey tips are:
- defrost in the fridge and not on a kitchen bench. An almost-thawed turkey can be finished off under cold water or in a microwave
- it can take up to 3 days to defrost a large frozen turkey in the fridge
- to test if a turkey is cooked, pierce the meat in the thickest parts such as the thigh or breast. Juices should be clear and all the meat should be white
- see also Turkey tips.