According to Food Safety Australia New Zealand, people shouldn’t assume food is safe because it’s local, organic or properly cooked.
This is particularly important for businesses that do not have a food safety structure in place and carry out food handling tasks without proper food quality testing.
Don’t think that this applies to you? Here are just a few false food practices that many business owners have fallen victim to that could damage your business
Myth 1: Chicken is safe if the juices run clear. Burgers are safe if they’re brown inside, not pink
Colour should not be an indicator to decide whether food is cooked and safe for consumption. By relying on sight, food handlers are blind to invisible contaminates such as salmonella still lurking in foods.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand recommends using a thermometer to measure whether food is fully cooked. According to FSANZ, food should be received, stored, displayed and transported in either very cold (5°C or colder) or very hot (60°C or hotter) temperatures.
Myth 2: Properly cooked food can’t cause food-borne illness
This is only partially true. While cooking can destroy some spores and toxins, poor food preparation and storing practices can result in cross-contamination. To avoid this, a few hints:
- Have separate workstations in place, using different utensils for different food products
- Have set cleaning and sanitising processes in place, getting rid of both excess foodstuffs and minimising bacterial growth
- Store foods separately, ensuring all raw products are at the bottom of the fridge
- Washing hands in between work stations – you would be surprised how many forget this!
Myth 3: Organic, fresh or local produced food is safer than that purchased at a grocery store
While many are advocates of local and organically produced foods, even organic and local veggies can make a person sick. In fact, fresh produce is linked to nearly half of all cases of foodborne illness – more than any other type of food.
The rule of thumb is; no matter where the product has come from, a set procedure of food safety needs to be applied to ensure safety in every stage of food production and development.
By being conscious and aware of the hazards and taking the steps to control these hazards, Australian food businesses can work towards decreasing the 5.4 million cases (including 120 deaths) of food borne illness in Australia each year.