Avoid food poisoning

  • Date: 06 May 2014
  • Category: HW Blog
  • Author: Emily Greenfield
YMCANutrition Avoidfoodpoisoning

Although we cannot completely eliminate foodborne illness, we can reduce our risk by avoiding foods that can make us ill, and by observing the following ten golden rules of food safety.

  1. Avoid consuming raw milk. People might have been drinking raw milk (unpasteurised) for years, but there is a real risk of pathogenic bacteria from the udders of the cow, making their way into this milk. Udders can become contaminated with dangerous organisms, which is why pasteurization has been standard practice since the late 1800s. Raw milk is not allowed to be marketed for consumption in Australia for good reason.

  2. Cook your burger until it is no longer pink in the middle. Eating undercooked ground beef is different to eating a steak that’s pink in the middle. To make ground beef, the exterior parts of the meat where bacteria reside are mixed in throughout the meat. This means all parts of the burger need to be cooked to a recommended internal temperature of 72°C (160°F) using a meat thermometer.

  3. Cook poultry thoroughly. Dangerous organisms such as campylobacter appear to have a high prevalence rate in poultry, and can survive if the internal temperature of the meat does not reach 74°C (165°F).

  4. Cook your sprouts. There have been at least 30 reported cases of foodborne illness related to raw sprouts in the last 15 years (i.e., alfalfa and mung beans). During the sprouting of beans and seeds, the conditions are perfect for pathogenic bacteria to multiply. Although processes attempt to remove the bacteria, they are not always successful. The NSW Food Authority recommends that pregnant women do not eat any type of raw sprout.

  5. Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly, both before preparing food and before eating.

  6. Don’t eat foods that are meant to be refrigerated if they have been out of the fridge for more than two hours.

  7. Place left over cooked food in the refrigerator within half an hour of cooking, and eat refrigerated left overs within 48 hours.

  8. Keep raw and cooked foods separate and always use different chopping boards and utensils for each.

  9. If you are defrosting foods, keep them in the fridge. Keep foods that you are marinating in the fridge. This is particularly important for meats and meat products.

  10. Always eat food before the use-by date! 


To learn more about the author of this article, Emily, click here

Disclaimer: This article provides general advice only. Readers should seek independent professional advice from their general practitioner or dietitian in relation to their own individual circumstances or condition before making any decisions based on the information in this article.