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Food Safety Basics

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Follow these key steps to food safety to reduce your risk of foodborne illness

Keep it clean – While most microorganisms do not cause disease, harmful microorganisms are widely found in soil, water, animals and people.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy wat​er and dry them before handling food, as well as often during food preparation, especially after handlin​g raw foods.
  • Always wash and dry your hands after going to the toilet.
  • Clean your bench surfaces, cutting boards, utensils, and dishes with hot, soapy water before, during, and after cooking.

Keep it separate – Microorganisms from raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread to fruits, vegetables, cooked foods and other ready-to-eat foods unless you keep them separate.

  • Use one cutting board and knife to prepare raw meats and another set for foods that will not be cooked before being eaten (e.g. salad ingredients).
  • Don't put cooked meat on a plate that had raw meat on it.
  • Store food in containers to avoid contact between raw and ready-to-eat foods.​​

Cook it thoroughly - Proper cooking kills almost all harmful microorganisms.

  • Use a clean food thermometer to check that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature.
  • In general, cooking food to 70°C in the centre will help ensure it is safe to eat.​​​
  • FSANZ recommends cooking the following foods to at least 75°C in the centre​:​
    • all poultry (whole cuts, roast or mince); ​
    • all meat that has been minced or rolled (beef, lamb, kangaroo or pork sausages, hamburgers, mince, or rolled roasts)​; ​
    • liver and other offal.​​​

Keep it cold or keep it hot –  Microorganisms can multiply very quickly if food is kept at room temperature.

  • Keep perishable food refrigerated at 5°C​ or colder.
  • If you're planning to cook and cool food for later use, cool it quickly (e.g. in shallow containers in the fridge). ​
  • Do not leave cooked or other perishable food at room temperature for long:
    • if less than 2 hours you can put it back in the fridge ​
    • between 2 and 4 hours, eat it straight away  ​
    • a​fter 4 hours, throw it away.​
  • Keep hot cooked food piping hot (more than 60°C) right up to serving.
  • If reheating cold food, reheat it quickly to piping hot.
  • Do not thaw frozen food at room temperature – thaw it in the fridge or use a microwave.
  • Keep perishable leftovers in the fridge and use them up within a few days.​

For food businesses

All food businesses in Australia have to comply with requirements in the food safety standards. See our page for businesses at Food Safety Standards (Chapter 3) (foodstandards.gov.au)

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