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Food safety in your home

Around one-third of all food poisoning cases in Australia occur in the home.

Bacteria and viruses can cause food borne disease. You can't always tell by the look, smell or taste of a food if it is unsafe.

Tips for food safety at home


Store raw meat, fish and poultry at the bottom of the fridge. Ensure that blood and juices do not drip onto other food.

Cover all foods to protect them from contamination, or store them in containers with lids.


Keep cold foods cold (under 5 degrees celsius)

Keep hot foods hot (above 60 degrees celsius)

Cooking foods at a high heat destroys dangerous bacteria. Thoroughly cook all foods until they are steaming hot.

When cooking processed meats, pork and poultry, ensure they are cooked thoroughly and their juices run clear. Cook mince, patties and sausages until there is no pink on the inside.

Cool hot food quickly. Cool food on the bench only until steam stops rising then immediately place the hot food into the fridge or freezer.

Hazardous foods

Food poisoning bacteria are often found in certain types of food. Be especially cautious with raw or cooked meat, dairy, seafood, cooked rice and pasta, eggs, beans and processed fruit & vegetables.

Thawing frozen food

Bacteria can grow in thawing food if left at room temperature. Thaw frozen food in the fridge overnight unless the manufacturer directs otherwise.

Hand washing

Wash hands in hot soapy water for 30 seconds before handling food.

Wash hands throughout food preparation, especially after touching raw foods, the body, garbage and pets.

Thoroughly dry hands on a paper towel.


Use separate chopping boards, utensils and serving platters for raw foods like meat.

This prevents cross contamination from raw foods to ready-to-eat foods like salad, fruit and vegetables.

Reheating food

Always reheat to steaming hot. This will kill any nasties. When reheating in the microwave, make sure that food is steaming throughout and not just on the edges.


Clean all work surfaces, dirty dishes and utensils well with hot soapy water. Rinse with clean hot water. Dry thoroughly with a clean tea towel or let drip dry.