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Food Safety Matters

How to keep food safe


We can become sick if we eat contaminated food. Food can be contaminated by:

Viruses and bacteria are the main causes of food poisoning in Australia.

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Preventing food poisoning

We must handle food in ways that ensure:

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The following simple rules prevents most food poisoning

 Cartoon drawing of Food Safety Matters character washing dishes
 1. Keep hands clean:
  • wash hands and nails thoroughly with warm running water and soap
  • dry hands thoroughly
  • cover cuts and infections on hands.
 Cartoon drawing of Food Safety Matters character cleaning a kitchen bench  
Keep the kitchen clean:
  • keep clean all surfaces and equipment that come in contact with food
  • prevent pests and animals coming into the kitchen.
 Cartoon drawing of Food Safety Matters character serving food  
Handle food safely:
  • avoid handling food when sick
  • keep uncooked food separate from cooked food and food to be eaten raw
  • use clean equipment and clothing
  • wash fruit and vegetables to be eaten raw under running water.
 Cartoon drawing of Food Safety Matters character cooking with microwave oven  4. Cook high-risk foods thoroughly:

 Cook thoroughly foods such as:
  • mince
  • burger patties
  • sausages
  • rolled roasts
  • stuffed meats
  • rabbit
  • seafood
  • poultry
 Thumbnail image of the Temperature Danger Zone for Food diagram   
Keep hot food hot:
  • keep food when cooked at 60°c or above until served, or chill quickly
  • refrigerate or freeze food that is to be prepared well in advance
  • reheat food as quickly as possible until steaming hot
  • cook or reheat packaged food according to label directions
  • view diagram (as pictured here) for reference
 Cartoon drawing of Food Safety Matters character with the fridge door open  
6. Keep cold food cold:
  • refrigerate chilled and frozen foods soon after purchase
  • keep cold food at 5°c or less (ie. in the refrigerator) as much as possible
  • thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave - not on the kitchen bench
 Thumbnail image of the Food Safety Matters - Student guide cover  Summary and more information

 Preventing food poisoning - a summary
 More information - see Student guide

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Last Updated: 08 March 2006
Last Reviewed: 07 October 2009