Food business news

Food Safety - Salmonella Alert

There has been an unprecedented increase in cases of food borne illness, many of which related to outbreaks of Salmonella.

Salmonella infection is a type of gastro caused by Salmonella bacteria, and is most commonly associated with eggs and chicken. Therefore, it is extremely important to handle these products carefully.

The top 4 issues observed during recent food borne illness outbreaks:

* Egg wash that is topped up, used multiple times and is kept at room temperature for long periods of time.
* Raw eggs products such as mayonnaise, aioli, hollandaise, mousse and tiramisu prepared too far in advance and not refrigerated.
* Inadequate cleaning and sanitation throughout food businesses.
* Cross contamination of bacteria via tea towels and other equipment.

The top 5 tips to help ensure your food business makes safe food are:

*  Always wash hands before and after handling eggs and raw chicken.
*  Prevent cross contamination by using separate chopping boards, tongs, knives, containers and other equipment when storing, preparing, handling and cooking raw and ready to eat food.
* Cook chicken thoroughly so that there is no pink meat and the juices run clear.
* Uncooked food that contains raw eggs are a high risk, therefore, consider using pasteurised egg products.
* Ensure food is stored below 5 degrees Celsius and is returned to the refrigerator within two hours.

It is important that all food handlers in your business understand the importance of food safety and are alerted to the above important advice.

Temperature Danger Zone - Keeping hot food hot & cold food cold

Tempdangerzone2Food businesses and consumers are being urged to avoid leaving food out in the Temperature Danger Zone of 5 oC to 60 oC where food poisoning bacteria can grow quickly and potentially produce toxins that aren't destroyed by further cooking.

Part of the recent Mackay Regional Council Targeted Inspection Program for Food Businesses included randomly auditing for compliance with temperature and thermometer use.

Only 69% of businesses audited had a probe thermometer and 51% recorded temperature as part of their daily food preparation routine.

Temperature checking and recording is a must for every food business.

The danger zone

Food poisoning bacteria multiply rapidly in food with a temperature between 5 and 60 degrees.

Keep food hot at or above 60 oC or cold at or below 5 oC.

Simple tips to avoid the temperature danger zone:-

  • Keep your fridge and cold storage cold enough that food is at or below 5 oC. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of food.
  • Make sure you have enough fridge space as fridges and cold rooms won't work properly when they are overloaded or when food is packed tightly because the cold air cannot circulate.
  • Freshly cooked food, not for immediate consumption, should be kept hot (hot holding) at 60 oC or above.
  • Freshly cooked food, for storage and later consumption, should have the temperature reduced as quickly as possible. Divide into small portions and place in containers in the fridge or freezer as soon as it stops steaming. Ensure when reheated the food is heated to 75 oC or above. Use a thermometer to check.
  • Do not let the thermometer be a source of cross contamination. Ensure your probe thermometer is cleaned and sanitised before each use. To clean your thermometer wash it in warm soapy water, then sanitise with boiling water or an alcohol wipe.

For further information please contact an Environmental Health Officer on 1300 MACKAY (622 529).