The Food Safety Information Council has stressed the importance of education on food handling and safety procedures.
More than 4 million Australians suffer from food poisoning every year, and the Australia New Zealand Food Authority estimates that between 60 and 80 per cent of these illnesses can be attributed to food outlets such as hotels, restaurants and take away food venues.
Lydia Buchtmann of the Food Safety Information Council said: ‘We are eating out more and our food is also travelling from longer distances, therefore the risk is increasing.’
The Council recommends that Australians be aware of cleanliness and hygiene when eating out, and that you apply the same rules you would in your own home.
The Council has released the results of a survey on ‘doggy bags’, which found that more than half of the Australians who took food home from a restaurant were at risk of food poisoning. Australians can help prevent food related-illnesses by following some simple rules when taking a ‘doggy bag’ home.
‘We recommend that you refrigerate or consume the food straight away. Once it is in the danger zone — above 5°C or below 60°C — you may be at risk of a food borne illness. If the food has been out of a refrigerator for longer than 4 hours, discard it,’ said Ms Buchtmann.
Ms Buchtmann also stressed the importance of taking food safety issues seriously. ‘You may think it is just a tummy upset, but food poisoning can be incredibly dangerous. If you are a young child or are elderly, it can be life threatening.’
Last Reviewed: 23 March 2001