Food safety is important for everyone but, it is very important if you are elderly, frail, unwell or recovering from an illness.
Some bacteria (and the toxins they produce) can cause food poisoning.
Bacteria need food, moisture and time to grow. Some foods are called HIGH RISK foods as bacteria grow very readily on these foods. HIGH RISK FOODS include
- Raw and cooked meat , chicken, fish and other seafood
- Milk and milk products such as soft cheeses, mornays, milky desserts
- Eggs can also be risky so always cook, don’t serve them raw as in egg flips
- Processed foods that contain eggs eg. quiche
- Cooked rice and pasta
- Soy bean products
Points to keep food safe include
- Wash and dry hands thoroughly before and after handling food
- Place raw meat, chicken and fish on the bottom shelf of the fridge so their juices cannot drip onto other food
- Do not keep raw meat in the fridge more than three days before cooking
- Do not keep raw fish or chicken in the fridge more than one day before cooking
- Chicken should always be well cooked. Cooked chicken juice should be clear. Check juices in the thickest part and near the bone
- Minced meat should be cooked for at least 20 minutes
- HIGH RISK FOODS should not be left out of the fridge for more than two hours. No more than one hour would be even safer. If high risk food has been out of the fridge for more than two hours, (especially in the hot summer months) throw it away. This may be hard to do but, it is better to waste a little food than to be sick.
Note that boiling the food when it has been out of the fridge for more than two hours will not make it safe to eat. Boiling may kill bacteria but it does not destroy the toxins (poisons) they have produced.
(Nutrition Services, Gosford Hospital, CCLHD)