With the great Australian summer upon us, food safety experts are making an extra effort to remind people how important safe practices for food transportation, preparation and consumption are. Those who don’t practice proper food safety and adhere to health standards are at greater risk for contracting dangerous bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella.
Foods That Represent a Higher Risk
When it comes to creating the right environment for bacteria to thrive, all foods are not created equal, and some provide a significantly higher risk than others. Poultry products, meats, dairy products, eggs and seafood can all be problematic. Sometimes, foods that you wouldn’t naturally assume to be a problem offer hazards too, including products that are rich in starch, like cooked rice and pasta.
People at a Higher Risk of Infection
Just as some foods are more likely to cultivate food poisoning, some people are more likely to be susceptible to the bacteria that causes these illnesses. For example, children younger than the age of five, the elderly, pregnant women and people who suffer from chronic illnesses that imply compromised immune systems, are all at higher risk.
Safety When Eating Outdoors
As the heat rises, the conditions that help bacteria to grow improve, especially when food is stored within the range of 5-60 degrees celsius - also known as "the danger zone". When dining outdoors, foods can easily be exposed to additional contaminants, such as pests and insects.
Taking Preventative Measures
Remember, when storing foods, raw meats should always be kept far away from all other items. When travelling with food, it is also worth taking an eskie or cooler so that your food does not become elevated in temperature during journeys. Finally, ensure your food is prepared as close to possible to serving, and avoid leaving it out unrefrigerated.