Although it is important to be aware of the dangers of food poisoning at all times of the year, various studies have shown that people are more susceptible to contracting food-based illnesses throughout the Christmas season.
According to Julia Madden of the Food Safety Information Council, the holiday period equates to more people around the dinner table. During multi-generational celebrations, family meals are made to serve everyone from young children, to pregnant women and grandparents.
There isn’t always enough room in the fridge to store the prepared food and left-overs, meaning that some items are left unrefrigerated. Combine this with the typically sweltering temperatures of Australia’s Christmas season, and this creates the perfect atmosphere for food poisoning bacteria to thrive.
Who is at high risk of food poisoning?
The risk of food poisoning is especially dangerous when you consider the various vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the young, and individuals with compromised immune systems, who are all turning up for dinner.
Furthermore, there are other elements which need to be considered too – such as the likelihood that perishable meats such as ham, and soft cheeses like brie may be served before the main meal. With so many different risk-factors on the table, the dangers of food poisoning multiply exponentially.
How to minimise the risks
The key to caring for your family and avoiding food poisoning is to be prepared. Make sure that all foods are properly refrigerated, and when you go shopping, consider taking a cooler with you so that you can safely transport your perishable items. Before you purchase anything, check the inventory of your fridge and make sure you have enough space for every item.
Remember, it’s important to be particularly mindful of high-risk foods like ham, poultry, soft cheeses, sea foods, and homemade dips. Desserts such as tiramisu, which may contain raw egg should also be prepared with the utmost care, adhering to food safety rules.