The Festive Season is upon us and so too is the blazing Aussie heat. Here’s advice to keep your family and friends food safe this Festive Season-

1. Wash your hands – in warm soapy water before preparing and cooking food, and after handling eggs, raw meat, particularly poultry, burgers and sausages.

2. Plan ahead and don’t buy too much food. Cool air needs to circulate freely so don’t overstock your fridge and freezer. Ensure perishable food is adequately frozen or chilled. Less food will also help to reduce food waste.

3. Have adequate room in your fridge for perishable foods. Removing alcohol and soft drinks and put them on ice in a container or laundry sink. This also stops guests opening the fridge and helps to maintain the temperature at 5°C or below. Use a fridge thermometer to check the temperature.

4. Frozen poultry – must be defrosted in your fridge which can take several days and also increase the risk of potentially contaminating ready to eat foods stored in the fridge.

5. Check poultry temperatures – Cook the turkey until a meat thermometer shows it has reached 75° C in the thickest part of the thigh and cook any stuffing separately as it might not fully cook inside a whole turkey. Don’t wash any poultry before cooking as that will spread the bacteria around your kitchen.

6. Avoid raw or minimally cooked egg dishes – such as raw egg mayonnaise or aioli, egg nog or fancy desserts, which can be a particular risk for food poisoning. Cooked egg dishes are simple and nutritious.

7. Christmas ham – check the storage instructions and best before or use by date before removing the ham from its plastic wrap, cover it with clean cloth soaked in water and vinegar so it doesn’t dry out, and store it in the fridge at or below 5°C.

8. Don’t leave food out of the fridge – Don’t leave dips and other perishable chilled foods like patés, cold meats, soft cheeses like camembert and brie, cold poultry, cooked seafood like prawns and smoked salmon, sushi and salads out for more than two hours. Put out small amounts and replace (not top them up) from the fridge.

9. Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible. If perishable foods and leftovers have been left out of the fridge for less than two hours they should be okay to refrigerate or freeze to eat later, so long as it hasn’t been sitting in the sun. Never eat perishable food that has been unrefrigerated for more than four hours as it may not be safe and should be thrown away. On a very hot day food should not be refrigerated if it has been outside in the heat for more than an hour and discarded after it has sat outside for 2 hours.

10. Always reheat leftovers to 75°C in the centre of the item or the thickest part to kill any food poisoning bugs. Use a probe thermometer to help you make sure that the leftovers have been reheated safely.

Contact CFT Food Safety training to update your food safety knowledge.