State Government Victoria Australia Department of Health header
State Government Victoria
Victorian Government Health Information
Health Home
Main A to Z Index | Site Map | About Health  

April 2015

2 young girls sat on fence jpeg
Amelie Bryant-Walter, 6, and Delilah Tanner, 2 at the Collingwood Children’s Farm Orchard, where food safety – with tips such as wash fresh fruit and vegetables in clean water – was promoted on World Health Day.

Food safety tips for World Health Day

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford marked World Health Day at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, reminding Victorian families about the importance of food safety.

This year’s World Health Day From farm to plate, make food safe theme promotes the importance of improving food production, preparation and consumption across the world.

Unsafe food can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemicals that can lead to more than 200 diseases and illnesses with the most common being gastroenteritis.

There are about 5.4 million cases of food-related gastroenteritis in Australia each year, resulting in 1.2 million people visiting a GP, 300,000 prescriptions for antibiotics and 2.1 million days of work lost.

About 20 per cent of food poisoning cases are thought to be due to poor food handling in the home.

Top food safety tips include keeping high-risk food at five degrees centigrade or below and above 60 to avoid the ‘temperature danger zone’ where bacteria multiply fastest.

As a general rule, raw food should never be refrozen once thawed.

High-risk foods include raw and cooked meat, dairy products, eggs and egg products, smallgoods, seafood, cooked rice and pasta and pre-prepared products like coleslaws, fruit salads and sandwiches.

Washing hands thoroughly with soap and water is key to food safety and stopping the spread of germs.

It’s also important that fresh fruit and vegetables are washed thoroughly in clean water, even if home-grown or with a skin, to remove bacteria.

‘World Health Day is a timely reminder for all of us to ensure the food we prepare for our families and friends is safe to eat,’ said Ms Hennessy.

‘Food poisoning is incredibly debilitating and can be life-threatening for unborn babies, young children, older people and those with weakened immune systems.

‘Everyone loves putting on a delicious meal and, by following some really simple tips, we can make sure it’s been prepared safely too.’

‘This year’s World Health Day recognises that managing food safety needs to occur across the whole supply chain, from ‘farm to fork,’ said Ms Pulford.

‘Farmers, processors, retailers and consumers all have a part to play to ensure the food we eat is safe.

‘Victoria is known for fantastic food and fresh produce – let’s support our farmers by buying local where possible.’