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Raw and risky the focus of Food Safety Week 2016

6 Nov 2016

The NSW Food Authority is throwing its support behind the Food Safety Information Council’s Food Safety Week 2016 that commences today Sunday 6 November, urging NSW consumers not to become one of the estimated 4.1 million people affected by food poisoning each year in Australia.

Dr Lisa Szabo, NSW Food Authority CEO, said the theme of this year’s Australian Food Safety Week "Raw and risky" is a timely and apt reminder that some foods carry more risk than others.

"Recent years have seen major food poisoning outbreaks linked to risky raw foods such as unpasteurised cow’s milk, raw egg dishes, bean/seed sprouts, frozen berries and lettuce," Dr Szabo said.

"Raw foods can get contaminated with bacteria and viruses in many ways. These include poor hygiene and food handling techniques, dirty kitchen equipment and cross contamination. Thoroughly cooking food usually kills any bacteria or viruses so there is more of a food poisoning risk from eating some raw foods.

Each year an estimated one million Australians visit a doctor with food poisoning, 32,000 people end up in hospital and 86 people die.
Dr Szabo said minimising your food safety risk is as simple as following a few basic rules:

  • Try to use alternatives to raw eggs in foods which are not cooked like desserts, dressings and sauces, alternatives include commercially produced products, or pasteurised egg products
  • If you do make raw egg foods, special attention must be given to the safe preparation of these products, don’t use cracked or dirty eggs and prepare any raw egg dish as close as possible to consuming and refrigerate at or below 5°C
  • Some foods should never be served raw, cook food such as sausages, hamburger mince and poultry thoroughly through to the middle
  • Avoid drinking unpasteurised cow’s milk as it has an increased risk of contamination with bacteria
  • Use separate chopping boards for raw meat and salad veggies, cover raw meat and poultry in the fridge and store it on the bottom shelf to minimise the risk of it dripping onto other foods.

There are certain populations who have a higher risk of food poisoning; these groups include pregnant women, the very young, the elderly and people with poor immune systems.

Food safety information, specifically relating to higher risk foods can be found at www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/foodsafetyandyou/special-care-foods
 

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