Summer and the festive season are about spending quality time with family and friends and enjoying special summer treats such as BBQs and seafood.

This time of year can see a spike in food poisoning incidents as people host meals for larger numbers than they are used to, cooking foods they’re not familiar with and eating outdoors where the warmth of summer can offer the ideal environment for bacteria to grow.

Salmonella is the most common bacteria associated with food poisoning which grows quicker in the warmer months. When large quantities of food are cooked and left out in the open for long periods, food poisoning bugs can spread and multiply. Fridges that are overfilled with leftovers and kept at 5oC or above also pose a risk.

The NSW Food Authority has a food safety guide for summer eating:

  • Christmas hams will keep for several weeks with proper handling – see Ham Hints
  • Defrosting, cooking, storing and serving turkey can provide bacteria with 4 different opportunities to spoil Christmas cheer – see Turkey tips
  • Seafood is a favourite food for many during the warmer months but to avoid food poisoning, seafood needs special care – see Seafood safety
  • The average home kitchen isn’t designed for large volume cooking, so good food safety practices can be more challenging – see Family feasts
  • Picnics are a way of life for many Australians – see Picnic tips
  • BBQs are often the scene of cross-contamination – see BBQ tips

You can also follow these simple tips to make sure your festive season stays festive