Don’t let the way you cook makes you feel crook! Follow Tips For Safe outdoor entertaining this Summer
Outdoor picnics and beach barbecues are part and parcel of an Australian summer. But as the mercury rises, so too does the number of food poisoning cases. That’s because the warmer weather provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. In fact, for every one degree warmer, the rate of food poisoning increases. It’s far from doom and gloom, however — there’s
plenty you can do to reduce or eliminate your risk.
Food for thought
Food poisoning can affect anyone, but some people are more susceptible than others. Be especially careful when catering for pregnant women, young children and the elderly.
1 Get the upper hand
Before handling food, make sure your hands are squeaky clean. Wash them with warm water and soap if available, or at least a hand sanitizer.
Remember to re-wash your hands after handling raw meats.
2 Use your esky
Transport perishable foods, such as salad, dips, and cheese in an esky filled with ice and cooler packs. Place raw meat in sealed containers at the bottom of the esky, so their juices are separated from other foods.
3 Chill out
Avoid packing warm food in the esky. If you’re taking pre-cooked
food for a picnic or barbecue, cook it the day before — and chill it in the fridge overnight.
4 Don’t cross paths
Prepare raw foods, like steak and chicken, with separate utensils and chopping boards from those you use to make ready-to-eat foods like salads or desserts. Use a separate clean tray to serve cooked meat like sausages and steak — not the tray the raw meat was prepared on.
5 Cook like a pro
Ensure frozen meat is completely defrosted before you put it on the barbecue. When cooking, turn the meat regularly and move it around the hot plate to make sure it cooks evenly. Steak can be pink in the middle as long as the outside is seared. Keep cooked meat hot by setting it to the side of the barbecue.
6 Check the temp
Cook sausages and burger patties all the way through, with no visible pink in the middle. If you’ve got a food thermometer, your target temperature is 75°C in the center.
7 Keep cold food cold
Store cold foods below 5°C. Keep the lid of your esky closed, opening it as few times as possible.
8… and hot food hot
Keep hot foods above 60°C. Food is in the ‘temperature danger zone’ when it’s between 5–60°C, meaning bacteria can very quickly multiply and become dangerous.
9 Watch the clock
Two hours is the maximum timeframe food can be left out of the fridge if you plan to take it home to eat another time. If you don’t intend to take it home, four hours is your goal with perishables.
10 Home sweet home
Take leftover food home quickly in insulated containers.
You should place hot food in the refrigerator as soon as the steam stops rising. Don’t leave seafood in the temperature danger zone for any longer than necessary.
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