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Campaign shows lack of food safety common sense

New Queensland Health research shows people are at risk of food poisoning this Christmas because they lack even the most basic knowledge when it comes to food safety.

Health Protection Executive Director Sophie Dwyer said the research revealed 75 per cent of people thought they understood safe food practices – but Queensland Health statistics on food poisoning painted a very different picture.

“People are really overestimating their knowledge of basic food hygiene – and suffering as a result,” Ms Dwyer said.

“They’re telling us that it’s common sense – but when questioned, only one per cent of the 1563 people surveyed knew that eggs should never be washed before cooking.

“That’s because washing them makes it easier for any bacteria to get inside the egg from the shell.

“Only 21 per cent realised washing uncooked chicken was a health risk, with one in five reporting they always washed chicken before cooking it.

“That’s alarming because washing raw chicken can spread Campylobacter via splashing water.

“Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in Australia, with more than 3200 people getting so ill last year that they ended up receiving hospital treatment.

“Another fact people should be aware of this festive season is that when it comes to those leftovers lurking in the fridge, it’s not recommended they be consumed after two days.”

Ms Dwyer said Queensland Health worked closely with councils to ensure food preparation standards in Queensland businesses were up to scratch.

“Standards in Queensland business are generally very high. It’s when there’s a food hygiene issue that a lot of people are affected,” she said.

“But a big risk remains in people’s homes this Christmas – and that’s because many people are way more clueless than they think.

“Let’s be frank – nobody wants to spend the silly season on the loo because they didn’t use their common sense.”

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Last updated: 19 December 2015